For Immediate Release
Return to the Press Releases Homepage
Santa Cruz, CA, January 25, 2012 – The City of Santa Cruz yesterday voted unanimously to ban the importation, sale, release and possession of American Bullfrogs, a non-native frog species with a voracious appetite for native wildlife. The move makes Santa Cruz the first city in the country to take such action and is expected to serve as a precedent that many other localities in western states will follow. The legislation came at the request of Santa Cruz based environmental organization Save The Frogs. The County of Santa Cruz is set to vote on a similar measure February 28th.
Worldwide, nearly one-third of the world's amphibian species are threatened with extinction. "This legislation is a huge step forward in protecting Santa Cruz' native wildlife" says Save The Frogs Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger. "California imports three million bullfrogs into the state each year, for use as frog legs and for pets. They eat our native frogs and whatever else fits in their mouth. Most of them come from frog farms in Taiwan and China and are infected by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has driven 100 amphibian species to complete extinction in recent decades".
The bullfrogs are generally resistant to the chytrid fungus, which makes them perfect vectors to spread it to native frog populations. The fungus makes its way into the wild when the bullfrogs escape, get purposely set free, or when the water they were held in gets flushed into the environment. Populations of California's Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs have plummeted in recent years as the fungus has entered their populations and are now gone form over 90% of the lakes and streams they once inhabited.
American Bullfrogs are native to the eastern USA and Canada. They are North America's largest frog -- and have very large mouths. They are voracious predators of native wildlife and are known to eat Santa Cruz County's three endangered amphibian species, the California Tiger Salamander, California Red-Legged Frog and Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander. One bullfrog was even found with a 33 inch Giant Garter Snake in its stomach. The bullfrogs are the most commonly farmed frog species in the world. They regularly escape their farms and are now invasive species in at least 15 countries where they don't belong.
Though the California Fish & Game Commission voted twice in 2010 to stop issuing permits for the importation of non-native frogs, the Department of Fish & Game continues to issue the permits, and has shown no intention of stopping. SAVE THE FROGS! is currently petitioning Governor Jerry Brown to take statewide action on the issue.
Kerry Kriger, Ph.D.
SAVE THE FROGS! Founder, Executive Director and Ecologist
Phone: (831) 621-6215
SAVE THE FROGS! (www.savethefrogs.com) is America's first and only public charity dedicated to amphibian conservation. The mission of SAVE THE FROGS! is to protect amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife.
Any photo from savethefrogs.com can be used; credit should be given to savethefrogs.com. High resolution images available upon request.