An astute reader points out that you would not want to find in East Bay streams the frog pictured in the lovely colored fold-out brochure promoting Measure WW, the East Bay Regional Park District’s $250 million bond measure.
Times animal columnist Gary Bogue confirms the photo is indeed of an African clawed frog, a non-native species that threatens indigenous frogs and small fish.
It’s a definite pest in California creeks, streams and ponds, Bogue says. He called it the “Frog from Hell.”
“You used to be able to buy them in pet stores back in the 1960s, then lots got released in local streams and away they went,” Bogue said. (Click here to read about the frog on Wikipedia.)
You can no longer buy these frogs in California but a batch of them still live in a lake in Golden Gate Park despite pleas to eradicate them.
East Bay Regional Parks, of course, has strict policies against the introduction of non-native species into its parks.
The Measure WW brochure picture was very likely an innocent mistake by a graphic designer who used stock frog photo, said East Bay Regional Park District Trustee Doug Siden of Alameda.
What? Not everyone knows the difference between an African clawed frog and a California red-legged frog?
Measure WW campaign consultant John Whitehurst takes responsibility for the “Frog from Hell” picture and promises he will take an amphibian identification class right after the election.
“I’m guilty, I confess,” he said. “Hey, I wanted to send a message to voters that if Measure WW doesn’t pass, the parks will croak!”