Red Oophaga lemanni recently smuggled ?

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Guys I'm copying and pasting this from posts I have made here in England,please forgive me,I've had a horrendous week and don't really feel like writing out the sadness over and over. I would ask guys that once again the EU will be the butt of much angst by my american frogger mates ,please don't think bad of all of us. Some of us really do care so lets not do all the bashing this time. But it is very important I think that everyone knows, what has happened. I am very aware that frogs have moved from EU even UK to America,so I hope to prevent that on this occassion.

Oh one last little thing from me just me,lads your example with the auctions, your generosity, the little notes from folks here of support to me via PM, the dudes helping with sponsorship Thank you you folks rock !!

As many of you know I am a staunch supporter of sustainable frogs for our hobby. I have and am trying to do what I can in my own little way to help support the work of one project in particular. This project is called Tesoros de Colombia. Please read the other threads here on this very forum if you have not yet become aware of this incredible story. Oh hell, well I'm at it sign the petition and give a bit to help too.

I've been talking to the guy that runs this for a good while now. He is called Ivan Lozano. Recently Tesoros have had some restrictions put on export,hence the petition,and me asking for help again. So i'm back trying to help Ivan and talking with him oft of late. In a conversation in the last few days he mentioned that he is devastated that someone has recently smuggled a lot of Lehmanni out of Colombia,and they are bound for the EU. It seems that a whole population of Red lehmanni have been pretty much systematically wiped out. Lehmanni are just hanging on by a thread guys,the situation with them is very very serious. The pet trade is implicated in this fiasco,over collecting for export cited as a primary source of population decline even above habitat destruction.

It is utterly heartbreaking to me that this hobby I adore so much can plausibly part of causing an animal's extinction in the wild especially one that we are meant to adore and be fascinated by. That this should happen at a time when a man has tried for 9 years, I think now, to provide a legal and sustainable means to provide us with these very frogs is unbelievable. It is an action taken for pure selfish and monetary gains.

Obviously,Ivan is incredibly sad,authorities are being made aware and I would urge anyone here to steer clear of these stolen animals and their potential offspring on a huge level!! This is a most grave situation,frankly I would love to see them returned to Colombia. But I think the damage is already done and I just hope beyond hope that a viable population still exists in the wild now.If ever you needed a rock solid reason to donate to Tesoros or to not buy a particularly stunning frog..... you now have it.

Part of Ivan's remit is not just to provide us with genuine legit colombian frogs,but also there is a rock solid genuine conservation side to his business. At this time he is working on the reintroduction of truncatus to an area where they once existed. The habitat restoration is I think complete,the next step the frogs. This primary experiment,will give him more knowledge for the future plan,This is to reinstate a whole population of lemanni, to the wild.

What the guy must be thinking at this time beggars belief, He's banging his head against this bloody wall (his government) the hobby support is well not great,(fair play to the yanks for trying) and some XXXXXX goes in to his country and steals a lot of a seriously endangered species for who,our hobby in europe

Guys I am seriously upset by this news I can't believe it has happened the timing is horrendous. It will also possibly mean Ivan, if he can stay fighting for his cause and get past this permit nonsense will not export the red morph to europe now. He doesn't want his legitamate frogs to be mixed into these and somehow get legalised I guess, and frankly if that is what he decides then I can't blame him. So some scum has concievably blocked this frog for all of us,But I guess that is for the best as obviously if any red lehmans show up in the reasonably near future even genuine CB it will be seriously evident where they have come from.

Once again please stay away from these frogs,we are close to Europe,part of it, we hear rumours and folks regularly go to EU to bring new frogs here,but we just can't be part of whole populations being wiped of the face of the earth and undermine the work done by Ivan and his Team into the bargain

Seriously gutted !!

Hi Stu.

I heard this rumor a few days ago but I thought it was a bad joke, some people in the hobby spreads out rumors of reasons I do not know about, many times becomes a feather to a chicken, etc.

I read your post with great sadness as I now understand that the rumor must be true, how inconceivable as it may be. I think that these people who have made this irreversible action must be found and put on trial, "ASAP".

If you can refer us some more facts, you are very welcome Stu.
Regards Morten Müller (Denmark)

I did not listen in school, so I must apologize for my Chinese English, I speak it better than I write it
Hi Morten,thanks for your post and concerns !!

Morten i have very little detail,this came directly from Ivan himself,I'm told they are in germany and some in Switzerland, that they are all red and that is about it. morten I have been talking with Ivan about helping him,so the focus of our conversations have been fixed on that,as and when I can get more detail,I will tell everyone. I wish I did have more details,my goal is primarily to make folks aware so no one is under any illusion as to where these frogs have come from and maybe stop folks buying,some hope Cry . But no market =no smuggling. A friend will hopefully alert authorities here and in EU. I posted this as soon as Ivan said it was ok to do so,as this is so bad I feel the faster folks were made aware the better,but I do wish I had more facts. coming direct from Ivan though there is no doubt it is not some idle rumour from the internet

I'm sorry I can't be of more help and share your sadness ,

take care

Smugglers are 100% AHEAD of the 'game' / hobby, after all, they are IN the hobby and amongst us. They know exactly when and where all the new stuff is coming in. Puerto Quito sylvatica coming in legally through wikiri / Mark Pepper ? BOOM. Smugglers will beat that shipment EVERY time...and they ALREADY HAVE.

Lehmani soon to come in legally, you say ? BOOM. Smugglers will beat that too.

Be proud of who you get your frogs from. Is there such a term as an 'Outlaw Frogger', lol ? There oughta be.

And finally, there WILL come a day when someone will get pinched whilst picking up a parcel labeled 'Books' from Germany. Some don't care but some people will not like having their personal info splashed across newspapers and made fun of on news casts. "Woman from Oklahoma charged with receiving red poison frogs in box labeled 'books'"

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
The way to combat smuggling is to LEGALLY allow the items.

Want to take money away from Mexican Cartels (and some Canadian peeps) and create TAX revenue for the U.S ??

Legalize Weed. See Colorado and marvel at how effectively we have taken a huge chunk of change away from the 'smugglers'.

Not a perfect analogy for dart frogs and hobby people, but fairly close and fairly effective. For a more apt analogy...ever think that the 'lowly' Dendrobates Tinctorius 'Azureus" (then referred to as Dendrobates azurus in it's own species) was smuggled? YEP, it was. Azureus were once going for 2-300.00 a froglet back in the late 1980's. Smuggled not so much from a country, as from an 'institution' but I digress. Where are we NOW with 'Azureus' ?? The are so plentiful than there is probably no more smuggling at all !

The smugglers try to beat US to the punch at every twist and turn. We need to beat THEM and the way to do it is to allow the frogs to be sold for as low as possible and have experienced breeders produced crap tons of them FURTHER lowering the price.

Histrionicus for $100.00 a froglet ?


Only the smugglers will cry over that.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
A coupla' facts and then some opinion:

1. There WERE Red, Blue and probably orange lehmani imported commercially to the US and most likely Europe in the 1990's. Are progeny still around from those legal imports? I think so. The question is how many?

2. The U.S dart frog hobby is pretty small as evidenced by the small Forum attendance. Before someone screams "yeah but yeah but there are thousands of froggers of who don't go on the forums". Bullshit. This is a tiny niche hobby with FAR less people keeping dart frogs than most people believe.

3. The price is astronomical for the rare obligates. Only the top 2% of all newbies with more money than brains would thro down on $500.00 to $1000.00 frogs. The hobbyists buying these animals are the top of the top. The older crusty dudes or at least the 'big boys'.

4. I doubt there are more than 300 total hobbyists in the U.S that are going to jumping and clamoring for lehmani. I can't speak for Europe but we can make a VERY loose extrapolation for the U.K as being 'under half' of the U.S hobby 'membership', so that leaves Europe and Asia.

5. Are the lehmani going to the U.S mainly or other parts of the world. My bet is over 80% are going to fufil European and Asian demands and only 20% - if that, are coming here.

like everything else posted on a 'FORUM', the above is just oh-pin-yon.

Some opinions.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
The statistics for smuggled Dendrobates auratus are...well, 'skewed' in my opinion. A lot of the animals of this species are used as 'filler' for orders of more desirable frogs like pumilio. They are easier to catch and thus 'round out' or 'pad' almost ALL orders both legal and illegal. This ensures two things:

1. Local businessmen are assured of making more money due to the number of 'pieces'. Rounding up 100 pumilio is hard, but add to that 150 to 200 auratus and NOW you have a decent chunk of change.

2. It ensures that no one is able to cherry pick and only take the best of the best, for example, you REALLY want some nice drago colon or escudo ?'re going to have to take these almirante, cauchero and auratus.

I can't speak for the European or Asian hobby markets but someone is going to have to do a MUCH better job of convincing me that auratus is being so sought after that it is currently being smuggled in the US. I doubt it.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Nothing Stu? I tried to put a lot of thought into three or four replies to your initial topic.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Where is the smuggling data coming from on auratus? I see CITES data on import/export of auratus, but how do we extend that to model smuggling? I've pulled the CITES data for a variety of dendrobatids and I'll plot that up, but I am curious as to how the hobby is determining "most smuggled" versus "most imported".
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
Ed K. has obtained the auratus statistics and I've no reason to doubt that he is correctly reporting same. The problem that I have is the interpretation of the data. The auratus numbers are from several years ago and reflect trafficking of a different sort than what we are discussing relative to the recent 'higher end' larger obligates. My suspicions are in the posts above... so we have a different 'status' kind of smuggling going on now. Different.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Philsuma Wrote:Nothing Stu? I tried to put a lot of thought into three or four replies to your initial topic.

Hey buddy sorry about the slow response,I have been watching. I can see what you have tried to do and have pondered responses,but never quite got them into print. Mind this and the other stuff has left me spinning,like a ruddy top,your posts are appreciated mate!! I'll shoot you a pm in a mo. rather than broadcasting stuff,but you understand exactly why i've not got here yet,not thinking straight yet really. All that said you have my sincere apologies

I primarily told folks here and then told you guys stateside , I really thought once I'd stopped a minute that you guys should know too. Frogs move from here to there,the more that know the better My initial goal to stop any coming here and maybe through the network of froggers find out what went on so either someone would be found accountable,or at the very least their would be a stigma attached to them and some folks whom might be tempted won't be now.

Phil, I'll back this guy Ivan, and Tesoros all the way,he is honest good and has worked his butt off to bring us legal Colombian frogs. I don't have answers and haven't the knowledge,to contradict Ed K whom I have huge respect for...HUGE RESPECT !!

To my way of thinking these frogs are being stolen anyway, providing the legal alternative,that Ivan is trying to do,will make a difference .How big a difference is difficult for me to assimilate,I have no expertise,for me much here depends on frogger ethic...if we were all ethical this wouldn't be happening,but there has to be many whom would buy the smuggled if not given an alternative,leastway Mr smuggler thinks so

Having now got the start of a base of experience under my belt I'd say these frogs will never be cheep in captivity, they are simply low producers. I'm not sure they will ever be produced in numbers sufficient to supply that demand ,but I do think over time and with the ever increasing ability of our hobby to breed frogs the price will come down. In some ways I want the price to remain high,if the price drops very quickly it impinges on the sustainable provider. I actually think this is applicable to the fecund frogs though mate,not these.

Someone will all ways try to steal something of value and sell it for profit,if it's frogs then having local folks to the frogs having a revenue stream from them seems the best way to make this not happen ,as they are invested in the frogs. The smugglers do seem to pull frogs just before a legal import. I've been told about the frogs you refer too and am aware that this has happened before over here at least,if I recollect varadero fants and benedicta spring to mind,in my short time in this hobby. So with a big reptile show coming up I felt the best way to combat this was to get the info out asap and try and make folks stop and think on the ramifications of coming back home with some of these in their pockets. As Ivan had told me this privately I actually asked for his blessing before posting

Someone has just recently had large oophaga confiscated on the UK boarder,I don't honestly think the brit hobby is as big as you think,I'd put it at a tenth of your hobby,but that is a wild guess,so even if my outpouring of grief over this incident stopped any of these frogs coming here,I don't think it will have any effect on the big picture. ie Europe and Asia.

Phil I haven't a real handle on what is in EU,with regards to red lemanni from old legal imports,I would agree there are some,but I'd be guessing wildly as too numbers. I would honestly think very very few. So my simple take is if these show up..and I guess they will,tracking where they have come from should be far easier than most frogs.

I think there probably is a status/bragging right to these types of frogs,I loath it actually,frogs should be kept because we adore and are fascinated by them,for me they are all equal it don't matter what they cost,it is almost irrelevent,maybe I'm weird because I don't see money to be made as a reason to become a dart keeper.

I have little idea on what will appear on your shore buddy,or what is already there,i'm sure it is similar to here with a few exceptions. Phil we simply don't have that old skool guidance you have to tell us what is right and what is wrong,it leaves folks like me that truly do care about more than my frogs at home,ie really do care about the wild populations,with frogs we really shouldn't be keeping,mind even in your hobby folks are unwittingly buying frogs from smuggled origins. So even though I haven't had a single reply on dendroworld we have had some form of debate on poison frog. At least everyone with any kind of ethic here,will know that this is one to stay clear of no one can possibly plead " I didn't know." One of the guys here said the shady side of our hobby is the hobby.

Jees mate I don't really want to be the guy trying to educate folks about this,good god I've only been at this as an actual keeper for 4 bloody years,I don't know jack **** yet.Help someone with something I've learnt by doing it sure anytime and day. But telling folks all over the world that my hobby might in part be responsible for a species being driven from the earth has to be my saddest day as a dart keeper. Then trying to get us all on the same page as far as legal and ethics with help from some friends,is somewhere I didn't want to go either. But this cannot be swept under the carpet,so here we are.

thanks again for the replies buddy, sorry again mate


To put it simply and it is simple,if every frog keeper shuns the next smuggled frog,then there will be no more smuggling,we the world dart hobby have this power to stop this.
Idea Stu, this is the key:
"To put it simply and it is simple,if every frog keeper shuns the next smuggled frog,then there will be no more smuggling,we the world dart hobby have this power to stop this."
Very well spoken and the root of the problem. I would hope those of us that love our "frogs in glass boxes" would want them to thrive in the wild and do the right thing and pass on buying the smuggled lemanni.. IMO that's the only thing that will stop it.
First, let me thank for informative post. It is a valuable reminder to us all.
Having said that, this topic quickly took a turn towards the general attitude on smuggling and illegal importing of color frogs, quite forgetting the original topic and the information therein.

I, for one, am still not convinced this alleged Red Lehmanni import has even happened. None of my sources, be it in Denmark or Europe, have been able to verify the number of animals involved, where they might be or who could be involved.
News of these kinds of incidents would have spread quickly had the frogs arrived in either Asia, Europe, or the US. Someone would have known.
So far, the only information available is the little we know from Stu and Ivan.

Given the limited information available, I find it hard to pass any judgment or take any action at present. When, if more information turns up, we can decide what, if any, action is deemed appropriate.
Regards Morten Müller (Denmark)

I did not listen in school, so I must apologize for my Chinese English, I speak it better than I write it
I have heard the red import as 'pending' or soon to be in the U.S. This info included the legal as well as the illegal on that same species as they always go hand in hand. The info I have is not time sensitive , only that 'it is happening' at some time.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
At frog day 2014, Andreas told me that in his opinion, a huge amount of the 'reds' did indeed already land in Germany and are there now.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
I wonder.

Am I the only one who challenge the facts in this story?!. I am pleased to announce that there is still no sign of the Red Lehmanni import here in Europe / Germany.
Regards Morten Müller (Denmark)

I did not listen in school, so I must apologize for my Chinese English, I speak it better than I write it
Depends on how well you are 'entrenched' in the hobby in your EU Countries.

As for me, I personally have my ear to the ground and make it a point to try to be as involved in all-things related to the hobby here in the USA but are there people that hide stuff... that I will not likely hear of? Oh my yes. Probably a LOT of stuff.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
The frog hobby in Europe is not very large, we are a small union of serious people that exchange frogs experience across national borders. If these frogs were in Europe would such a rumor spread like fire.

I do not want to measure muscle here, I just want to relate to the facts, everything else is not serious, sorry to say.
Regards Morten Müller (Denmark)

I did not listen in school, so I must apologize for my Chinese English, I speak it better than I write it
Quote:One of the guys here said the shady side of our hobby is the hobby.

Refering to the fact that nearly all dart frogs in the hobby have questionable origins, other than those which have been bought in the last few years from the likes of Tesoros, WIKIRI, CRARC, and Understory. How many can PROVE in the eyes of the law that their frogs come from legal origins? (no matter how far back they go?) Not many! "I got them from a bloke i trust, who i met on the internet" is not proof! Even commonly kept 'legal' frogs like auratus have been smuggled in huge numbers like has been said. So without an official cites number/paperwork that the government would approve of, leading back to the original Legal import of them im of the opinion they must also be classed as shady origins. Hense my quote of "the dodgy side of the hobby, is our hobby" Its sad but true! Its slightly ironic that it is mostly the WC imported frogs that have the proof needed to verify a frogs legality.

With proper record keeping of frogs originating from said companies, this trend can be restricted. I say restricted as trust does play a major part in purchasing frogs and unless each and everyone of us had some way to register our frogs officially then it is just trust we can rely on!

Back on topic....

Has any more evidence of this happening come to light? Not that im expecting someone to pop up saying "yeah ive just bought 4" I mean any government or official acknowledgment of it?

The frog hobby in Europe has to be twice as big as the US.

Entire Europe, mind you.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".

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