Shrieking Frogs Unnerve Hawaiian Island
HONOLULU (AP) - A tiny frog with a huge shriek has
invaded the Big Island and won't shut up. Big Island Mayor Harry Kim is
looking for $2 million to begin controlling the spread of the nocturnal
coqui frog, a beloved native in Puerto Rico but considered an annoying
pest in Hawaii since hitching a ride over in shipments of tropical
plants around 1990.
The frogs have been mating easily - and shattering
quiet island nights - ever since.
Aside from the noise, the frogs have a voracious
appetite for spiders and insects, competing with native birds and fauna.
And coqui frogs are adaptable to many ecosystems and breed heavily in
Hawaii, experts said.
Kim said the Big Island, the local name for the island
of Hawaii, will once again ask Gov. Linda Lingle to declare the coqui
frog infestation a state emergency to help clear the way for state
financial assistance. The $2 million is needed to launch a combined
state, federal and county program to combat the frogs, Kim said. He made
his plea Tuesday before state lawmakers, who will consider the request
later this year.
Kim said he declared a county emergency in April over
the frogs, but the state waited to see if the federal government would
offer assistance, which it did not.
Spraying of a citric acid solution on the islands of
Oahu and Kauai have curtailed coqui populations there, but limited
spraying on Kim's island has done little.
``I think the response from all of us has not been
timely enough,'' he said, noting that experts suggest he focus on
controlling the coqui's spread, rather than eradicating it completely.
``I kick myself in the back every day for not getting
started more aggressively,'' Kim said.
More than 150 communities on the Big Island are now
infested with the coin-sized frogs, named after their high-decibel ``ko-KEE,
© Copyright The Associated Press. All rights