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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Hawaii move to control noisy frog
By Matt McGrath
BBC News, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach in Hawaii
Hawaii's image as a haven of peace is under threat, residents say
Legislators in the US state of Hawaii have voted to spend millions of dollars on controlling a noisy frog.

The tiny coqui frog has been keeping islanders awake at night with its constant chirping and scientists say it is a threat to other species.

But the frog's defenders say it actually benefits the environment.

They say that worldwide efforts to stem invasive species have generally failed and are unlikely to stop the boisterous coqui frog.

About the size of a matchbox, the species has a song that belies its stature.

It has thrived in Hawaii, having arrived here less than 20 years ago from Puerto Rico.

The way they're trying to control the frogs here is extremely cruel and inhumane - by burning them to death with acid
Syd Singer
Conservationist
But, say residents, the noise of thousands of male Coquis singing to their mates is a threat to sleep and to tourism, shattering Hawaii's image as a peaceful paradise.

Scientists also weigh in against the coqui, claiming it has no natural competitors in Hawaii and eats so many insects that native birds and spiders are threatened.

The state has now pledged $2m a year to control the frog.

However the animal has its defenders.

"Nowhere else in the world have tree frogs been considered a pest," says Syd Singer, who runs a coqui sanctuary in Hawaii.

"And the way they're trying to control the frogs here is extremely cruel and inhumane - by burning them to death with acid, which takes up to an hour to kill the frogs."

Mr Singer said that with some species of frog dying out around the world, Hawaiians should feel "really blessed" to have them.


SEE ALSO:
Frog action plan to cost millions
14 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature
Singing frog's 'ultrasonic croak'
15 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature


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