Hawaii to spend $4.9M on coqui frog eradication

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Hawaii state legislature has appropriated US$4.9 million to fight the coqui frog and other invasive species.

About $2.9 million will be used to hire 58 additional inspectors at Hawaii's airports to improve detection of invasive species, an increase of 75% over the current level. The remaining $2 million will be used specifically for coqui frog eradication using citric acid and hydrated lime.

Much of the money will go to the Big Island of Hawaii, where the coqui frog infestation is most serious. About $1.8 million will go to the Big Island, with $150,000 going to Maui and $50,000 each going to Oahu and Kauai.

Native to the Caribbean, the coqui frog is believed to have entered on plants shipped from Florida or Puerto Rico. Without natural predators, the frogs' population density has grown to the point where it has become a nuisance. It is best known for its loud chirping, which keeps some residents on the Big Island and Maui awake at night.

Ecologists also fear that the coquis could threaten native bird species by eating the insects the birds rely on for food.