Part of the Bay Area News Group

Don’t kiss this frog!

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 at 9:33 am in Exotic wildlife.

The Lily Pond in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has a problem. African clawed frogs. If something isn’t done about this exotic and prohibited species before they escape from the Lily Pond and become established somewhere else (in lakes and streams elsewhere in the state), Northern California will have a BIG problem. These frogs eat everything, and they have no natural predators. They are a major environmental threat.

The clawed frogs were probably initially dumped in the Lily Pond by someone who had obtained them illegally as aquarium pets, or by researchers who have used them in their studies. The population has been rapidly growing and expanding ever since.

Eric Mills, coordinator of Action For Animals in Oakland, has been working with others for nearly four years to get the pond drained and have the frogs euthanized before they get loose and wreak havoc on our state ecosystem.

The frogs have already eaten other life forms in the Lily Pond and are now cannibalizing each other. These frogs also carry a type of fungus that is suspected as the cause of the extinction of more than 170 frog species around the world.

The frogs should have been humanely destroyed when they were first discovered, but state and local politics being what they are, it has taken all this time (meetings, committees, etc.) to reach a point where the Lily Pond is finally getting close to being drained.

But now there’s suddenly a new problem.

An animal protection organization called In Defense of Animals, from San Rafael, has issued an Action Alert on its Web site asking people to “Stop Frog Extermination in Golden Gate Park.”


I just received an e-mail from Eric Mills explaining what he thought of this mess.

“State law requires that these exotic frogs be euthanized, sadly. I truly hate the idea, but it’s necessary to protect the environment and our native wildlife. Here’s another example of humans creating a problem, then punishing the victim. But corrective action must be taken.

“It is illegal to move these frogs. The pond WILL be drained, the frogs will be euthanized, it’s only a matter of time. That being the case, it’s incumbent upon us animal protectionists to see that it’s done as humanely as possible. That should be In Defense of Animals’ role, rather than attempting to derail the entire process.

“They’ve even proposed setting up the Lily Pond as a permanent ‘study exhibit.’ Ain’t gonna happen!

“These proposals (by In Defense of Animals) are unrealistic and unworkable.”

Eric is right.

It’s time to get realistic, not hysterical.

In Defense of Animals also needs to get real.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

4 Responses to “Don’t kiss this frog!”

  1. nikki lee Says:

    I don’t find Eric Mills acting very “humanely” as a member of Action For Animals when he supports the “humane killing” of animals just because some arbitrary, “State law requires that these exotic frogs be euthanized, sadly”.

    I agree the greater California environment and that of the local park needs to be protected but killing is not a solution and definitely not a “humane” one.

    Why is it considered such an outrageous act to have the pond be made into a new permanent environment if it can be safely contained?

    Or why not trap and relocate the frogs to their indigenous location?The law prohibiting this needs to be abolished.

    Why would there be a law prohibiting humanly catching and safely releasing the animals to their natural environment? That is truly obsurd!

    That is the only truly humane solution.

    In addition I would just like to write that in thinking about the activity of euthanasia… I always think somewhere behind that obscure notion of “humane killing” is the gruesome reality of a human being who is being paid a poor wage by the hour to kill other living creatures… not for food but just because their lives are considered a nuisance…if you ask me that is a pretty inhumane thing to do to another human..

  2. Kimberly Peterson Says:

    In Defense of Animals is getting real. They do not want to see animals euthanized unnecessarily. Just as the previous poster, Nikki Lee, pointed out, there are other solutions. I vote that the pond should be drained, the frogs should be captured, and shipped back to their native country.

    If you were somehow captured, thrown on a plane as a prisoner, tried to stay alive, tried to have a family, ended up in some country that doesn’t allow any foreigners, would you agree to being killed? Or would you come up with other solutions, maybe “Send me back home!”

    In defense of animals is sometimes seen as irrational because they put animals as a priority. In our society that is not the norm. Please don’t seem them as “unreal” because they want to protect the frogs. Frogs are living beings just like humans, and they deserve every right to live.

    Please don’t encourage the idea that a group who wants to help animals is not being real. There are other solutions to this problem, and your article puts forth the idea that anyone who wants to protect the frogs and not just take the easiest way out of the problem is being “unreal”.

  3. Patrick Schlemmer Says:

    I fully agree with Eric Mills. If we do not act quickly, these frogs could have a devastating effect on our local ecosystem.

    Non-scientists are often unaware of just how destructive an invasive species can be to an ecosystem.

    A classic example is the accidental introduction of the brown treesnake to Guam in the 1950’s. In just half a century, the snake has wiped out most of the wildlife on the island. The following quote is from a paper published by the U.S.G.S.:

    “Nearly all species of Guam’s native wildlife have suffered, including reptiles, birds, and mammals. At present, Guam has lost all breeding populations of seabirds, 10 of 13 species of native forest birds, 2 of 3 native mammals, and 6 of 10 to 12 species of native lizards. Are these types of losses likely in other cases of predator introduction including snakes and other species? Sadly, this scenario has been repeated many times in both ancient and recent human history.”

    Thomas H. Fritts and Dawn Leasman-Tanner
    The Brown Treesnake on Guam: How the arrival of one invasive species damaged the ecology, commerce, electrical systems, and human health on Guam: A comprehensive information source. Available Online:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Fort Collins Science Center
    2150 Centre Ave., Bldg C
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80526 USA

    Those of us who value the rich biodiversity of the Bay Area cringe at the possibility that this same scenario could play out here. Fortunately, there is still time to avert such a catastrophe. We need to act now, before it is too late.

    Patrick Schlemmer
    President, San Francisco Naturalist Society

  4. Kristin K. Says:

    If these frogs are carriers of Chytrid fungus they must be exterminated. This is for their own good as well. They have currently exhausted the small ecosystem of the pond and have started to eat eachother.

    Trapping and relocating each of them is unrealistic, and poses the threat of introducing the fungus, which is currently threatening amphibians around the world, to wherever these animals are released. Thinking that it a permanent study exhibit could be not only contained is also realistic. Not to mention the loss of the area as a public parkland, or risk of corrupting the study.

    These animals are not used cars, their lives are not being taken with light hearts. But we must protect native wildlife. Unfortunately, the idealism of some groups is interfering with what could be a fleeting chance to do so.

Leave a Reply