We would like to share with you our recently published paper “Using the 2020 global pandemic as a springboard to highlight the need for amphibian conservation in eastern Asia”. This is a very bittersweet moment for us as Phil Bishop, our beloved friend and colleague and last author in the paper, passed away recently from an unexpected disease.

We feel that Phil would have always wanted to shine a light on amphibian conservation, and in this spirit we share this piece with you. May we all be inspired by Phil and continue his legacy to conserve amphibians in eastern Asia and beyond.

The paper was lead by the ASG Secretariat, but also very importantly we collaborated with researchers working in the region and having the local knowledge required to understand the complexity of the situation at different scales.

Tylototriton shanjing being traded at a market in Hainan in August 2019. This is one of the 40 bags available for sale despite being a nationally protected species in the People’s Republic of China (Photograph by Benjamin Tapley).

There is an increasing number of emerging infectious diseases impacting all species, including amphibians, reptiles and mammals. The latest threat to humans is the virus responsible for COVID-19, and the resulting pandemic. Countries in eastern Asia have taken steps to regulate wildlife trade and prevent further zoonoses, thereby decreasing the risk of pathogens arising from wild species. However, as amphibians are generally excluded from regulations, we support specific trade restrictions: I) Restrictions to amphibian farming; II) Regulation of the amphibian pet trade; III) Expansion of the wildlife trade ban. These restrictions will benefit both human and wildlife populations by decreasing the risks of zoonoses and better protecting the environment.

Eastern Asia has shown strong leadership in taking actions to regulate the trade of potential vector species following the onset of the pandemic linked to COVID-19. Trade restrictions rarely affect amphibians despite the risk of direct pathogen transmission, as well as indirect impacts through habitat destruction and the loss of vector consumption.

We support the current wildlife trade regulations and support measures to safeguard wildlife from overexploitation.


I) Restrictions to amphibian farming in eastern Asia.

II) Regulation of the amphibian pet trade.

III) Expansion of the wildlife trade ban, to limit the wildlife-human-pet interface.