Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Frog to Love or Hate

Coqui caught- Julia Siler- WSJ
Hawaii has an invasive species that sings way to loud.  Coqui is a tiny frog with a big voice - think a spring peeper that lives beside your house.  The frog has an enemy, Keevin Minami, the "frog whisperer."  Working for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, he is expert in singing them out. He has perfected their call, getting them to jump into his tube trap.

Like the spring peepers that are a welcome sound of the coming of spring, (Yeah right- back to 32 degrees tonight), Coqui has its fan club.  As described in this this Wall Street Journal story, they are beloved in their native Puerto Rico.
"In Puerto Rico, where the frogs are native, the coqui is the official mascot of the island, says tourism representative Reuben Castro. He likes the frogs and describes their sound like a whistle.
The chirps of the coqui are so popular some recording artists have incorporated them into their pop songs. A saying there is "Soy de aquí como el coquí" (I'm from here like the coquí), according to a private Puerto Rico tourism website."
While most invasive species have few redeeming qualities and no defenders, coqui is an exception.  Sydney Singer, a medical anthropologist, has a passion for collecting them from the authorities and, are you ready for this?, is promoting air freighting them back to Puerto Rico.  He has created a preserve for the captured frogs and is promoting Frog Repatriation and Overseas Gifting program, or FROG.  His website is at hawaiiancoqui.org.  There is even a book he has co-authored titled "Panic in Paradise: Invasive Species Hysteria and the Hawaiian Coqui Frog War."

They sound kind of cute to us, but then we don't have to live with them.  Whether the call is pleasant or a scream depends on which island you live on.  You can listen here to decide, then consider contributing to their air fare or euthanasia.  Kind of reminds me of our Canada geese.

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