- Written by Dr. Kerry Kriger
- Parent Category: Amphibians of the USA
- Category: Rana catesbeiana - American Bullfrog
On December 7th, 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! and the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to the California Fish & Game Commission (FGC) calling on the state to ban the importation of live American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) by adding the species to the state’s list of restricted animals. The addition would help prevent future introductions of bullfrogs, which in California are a non-native, invasive amphibian.
Photo of American Bullfrog courtesy Jock Branson
Bullfrogs prey upon and compete with California's native wildlife, and play a role in the spread of disease. The American Bullfrog is included in the Global Invasive Species Database’s list of “One Hundred of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species.” In 1997 the European Union banned the importation of live American bullfrogs due to their invasiveness, yet about 2 million live bullfrogs are currently imported into California every year. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife issued a 2014 report "Implications of Importing American Bullfrogs into California" that clearly demonstrates the threat caused to California's native wildlife by American Bullfrogs.
“Bullfrogs have already inflicted significant damage on California's wildlife populations, including many that are threatened with extinction,” said Jenny Loda, a biologist and attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Every new shipment of live bullfrogs into California presents the threat of further introductions of this highly invasive frog. We simply can't take the risk.”
An animal can be added to the “restricted animals” list by the FGC when it “is proven to be undesirable and a menace to native wildlife.” The FGC has previously used its authority to restrict live imports of other non-native, invasive animals that pose similar threats as bullfrogs, including carp, water snakes and some species of abalone.
SAVE THE FROGS! has been campaigning for an end to live bullfrog importations into California since May of 2010, when SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger spoke at a Fish & Game Commission hearing on the topic. At that hearing, the Commission voted to disallow the importation of live non-native frogs and turtles into the state, but the Department of Fish & Wildlife never abided by the Commission’s instructions, resulting in over ten million additional American Bullfrogs entering the state due to the Department's failure to act on behalf of native wildlife. Our current petition will hold more legal force if it is successful.
Live American Bullfrogs piled high in a San Francisco market. Photo by Michael Starkey.
"It's about time. Back in the 1990's the population of tree frogs and reg-legged frogs were completely depleted from south Napa in the town of Napa, CA. This was in the creek at Old Sonoma Road next to a school building. The tree frogs used to be so loud at night and then one year we had flooding, we got bullfrogs swimming over the dam into the creek, and that was the end of the native frogs. I personally love bullfrogs as long as they are native to an area, such as Vermont. They are very beautiful. However importing them to sell in open markets is cruel and disgusting. I feel really sorry for them."
-- Louise Salant
In May 2015 I submitted this letter on behalf of SAVE THE FROGS! members in California, across the USA and around the world, expressing our support for increasing the protections afforded to the Coast Dairies property in California, and specifically calling on politicians to designate the land as part a national monument, so as to ensure permanent protections for the property’s biodiversity.
On January 12th, 2017, President Barack Obama issued this proclamation declaring that Cotoni-Coast Dairies and important nearby areas are now included in the California Coastal National Monument, stating “The threatened California red-legged frog uses many of the waterways and water sources here, along with a wide range of other amphibians and reptiles.”
California Red-Legged Frog Egg Mass
Excerpts from President Obama’s proclamation:
“WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to preserve the objects of scientific and historic interest on the public lands of Trinidad Head, Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, Lost Coast Headlands, Cotoni-Coast Dairies, Piedras Blancas, and Orange County Rocks and Islands;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be part of the California Coastal National Monument and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying maps, which are attached hereto and form a part of this proclamation. The Orange County Rocks and Islands shall be managed as part of the original offshore area of the monument, and the remainder of the lands shall be known as the Trinidad Head, Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, Lost Coast Headlands, Cotoni-Coast Dairies, and Piedras Blancas units of the monument, respectively. These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 6,230 acres. The boundaries described on the accompanying maps are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of the monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.”
California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii) albino photo courtesy of Don Alley.
Grey Hayes, Ph.D. led the campaign to protect Cotoni-Coast Dairies and has also served as a facilitator in several amphibian workshops I have taken part in over the years. Grey said of SAVE THE FROGS’ involvement:
“SAVE THE FROGS! was important in informing the President about the importance of adding protection to specific sensitive natural resources on the property. These resources were not included in the Congressional proposal to designate the Monument, but our work together provided scientific documentation that enabled the President to justify including them in his designation. This included naming the California red-legged frog and other amphibians and reptiles as reasons for designating the area as a National Monument. The proclamation also requires that a management plan be prepared that protects those species before public access is allowed -- guaranteeing a balanced approach between access and preservation."
Frog art by from the SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest by Amanda Wilson
Victory for amphibians in California! The United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared nearly 3,000 square miles in the Sierra Nevada mountains as critical habitat for the mountain yellow-legged frog, Sierra Madre yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad. These three endangered amphibian species face an array of threats including pesticides, infectious diseases and predation by invasive trout species. This newly secured habitat will give these amazing amphibians the much needed protection they deserve.
Many thanks to the wonderful SAVE THE FROGS! supporters who sent in letters of support when the USFWS held a public comment period for listing this area as endangered amphibian species habitat. Learn more about this exciting victory here.
Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs in Amplexus. Photo by Vance Vredenburg.
The City of Santa Cruz Water Department partnered with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to present an amphibian conservation themed walk and talk at Loch Lomond Recreation Area on Save The Frogs Day! They passed around exciting amphibian conservation educational material and learned about some of the invasive species that threaten California’s native ecosystems.
"I organized the event to be held at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, CA. I had three tables, one for the STF paraphernalia, one for kids coloring and education, and one for face painting. I had a volunteer, Cody, who assisted with the main STF table and distributing material while I was overseeing the other 2 tables.
The kids station had the following: pictures of various frogs to color, photos of frogs, books and educational material. The nature center also provided us with a bullfrog in a tank and pacific chorus frog tadpoles in another. This served as an educational tool as well to discuss how bullfrogs are a danger to other native species.
At the third table, I stationed a hired girl who painted frogs on the kids faces (the adults wanted them too!). I also set out handmade cupcakes to sell in order to add to the profit making for the organization. This was a popular addition. The nature center staff had amphibians, reptiles and birds to show people that came by our table.
Overall, it was a great success. Many people that came by our table were unaware of the threats frogs are facing and were very receptive to listening."
- Sara T, Save The Frogs Day Event Organizer
"Our third SAVE THE FROGS! bake sale fundraiser was a success. We set up our information and baked goods table in a local shopping center in north Auburn, California. Once again, our assortment of lemon bars and cookies were a hit – along with our rescue-dog mascot, the “Frog Dog”, Tazz. We’re still a bit surprised that many people do not know the danger of extinction our amphibian friends face. Many times we heard, “Frogs are in trouble, really?” A lot of people do not know that they are under duress due to pesticides, loss of habitat, invasive species, climate change and more. On Save The Frogs Day this year, we were excited to once again educate (our #1 goal) over 150 people and receive over $300 to support the STF organization’s efforts. Thank you STF! For all that you do to help the frogs." ~ Nancy and Taylor Lichtle
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently took actions to approve a long term management plan that includes spending taxpayer dollars to drain the Sharp Park Wetlands. The City of San Francisco has a documented history of harming, killing and harassing federally protected California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii) when they drain this rare wetland ecosystem. Their reason to drain the wetlands: to create dry land for a money-losing golf course.
SAVE THE FROGS! partners have appealed the Board's actions and an appeal hearing will take place February 28th, 2017. Click here to see the letter submitted to the SF Board of Supervisors by SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger on February 15th, 2017. Right now we need your help to ensure the City knows there is widespread opposition to their frog-killing plans.
Please email the SF Board of Supervisors today and tell them you oppose the proposed Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan until and unless the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment is removed from the plan! You can use the sample email below.
Sample Email (Please sign your name at the bottom of it):
MAIL TO (copy all these email addresses into the CC: field of your composed email):
Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org, Sandra.Fewer@sfgov.org, Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org, Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org, London.Breed@sfgov.org, Conor.Johnston@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org, Jeff.Sheehy@sfgov.org, Hillary.Ronen@sfgov.org, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Ahsha.Safai@sfgov.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please protect wetlands and reject any SNRAMP that includes golf course redevelopment
Dear San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
I am writing to urge you to reject the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the proposed Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP), unless and until the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment is removed from the plan. The vast majority of California’s wetlands have been drained, degraded and destroyed. Sharp Park is home to federally protected, endangered California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii), California’s official state amphibian. The Board of Supervisors should work to protect, rather than to kill, harm and harass these frogs, which is what happens when the City pumps the Sharp Park Wetlands out to sea, causing the frogs’ egg masses to be stranded on dry land. I wholeheartedly oppose any usage of taxpayer funds that results in the destruction of rare wetland ecosystems or the degradation of important wildlife habitat. Using taxpayer dollars to drain wetlands for non-essential purposes is thoroughly unethical. As such, I again request that you not approve any version of a Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan that condones or funds such activities. Please see www.savethefrogs.com/sharp-park for more info, and remember that there are over 1,000 other golf courses in California.
Speak up at San Francisco City Hall February 28th, 2017
Our Appeal hearing before the SF Board of Supervisors is on Tuesday, February 28th at 3:00pm in San Francisco City Hall, Room 250. We need you there at 3:00pm so that you can speak in support of our appeal and protecting Sharp Park wildlife! Please email Julia Chang Frank at Julia4th@yahoo.com if you can be there, and she will provide you with talking points. Thank you for taking action for amphibians!
California Red-Legged Frog eggs stranded on land
Learn More & Donate
Visit www.savethefrogs.com/sharp-park to learn more. Donate at www.savethefrogs.com/donate to ensure SAVE THE FROGS! has the necessary funds to protect, create and restore amphibian habitat in California, across the USA and around the world. Thank you!
We need your help today to stop the State of California from turning 3,100 acres of critical amphibian habitat at Tesla Park into a publicly funded off-highway vehicle park! Three-wheelers and dirt bikes have no place in one of the state’s most biologically rich areas, but the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) of California State Parks is planning to expand the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area into nearby Tesla Park, which contains some of the state's most important amphibian habitat. Please submit your comment through the easy to use form we created at: http://savethefrogs.com/tesla
Tesla Park is home to our official state amphibian the California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii); California Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), Foothill Yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii); Spadefoot toads (Spea hammondii), as well as more common species like California Newts (Taricha torosa) and Pacific Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris regilla). The OHMVR wants to let intensive OHV use destroy the upland habitats of these frogs and salamanders. Please make your voice heard and help protect Tesla Park's amazing amphibians!
"We had a wonderful "Save the Frogs Day" event at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park! We had record attendance - over 50 participants! There was a presentation, than on to active frog learning games outside with a hike to the pond for viewing. In the following week, we held an art contest with State Park prizes such as camping and boating! Our local newspaper placed the event in several editions of the paper and Save the Frogs Day made the front page of today's paper as well. I enjoy being part of the Save the Frogs community and look forward to assisting in the future as opportunities become available!" - Save The Frogs Day organizer Autumn K
In North Carolina, the Sylvan Heights Bird Park hosted two frog focused events in April culminating with a Save The Frog Day celebration April 30, 2016. There were interactive games, activities and informational displays creating fun and enjoyable learning experiences while raising awareness of the challenges faced by amphibians around the world. Many participants were unaware of the amphibian population decline but our goal to help educate the public about frogs and frog conservation was successful as over 600 people attended these events.
We are pleased to announce the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Camp Out, which will take place at the Ashton Biological Preserve in northern Florida from April 14th to 16th, 2017! Florida has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems, and is home to about 57 known amphibian species, making it a perfect place to hold the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Camp Out. We will have an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians as we explore beautiful palm savannas, wetlands and pine forests. We hope you can camp out with us! Please sign up or send an email to trip leader Michael Starkey at email@example.com if you are interested in joining SAVE THE FROGS! in Florida.
Students Saved The Frogs at Bay Elementary School in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida!
"Our school has an area that floods due to heavy rains. There was a drain but it is no longer functional. The area that is currently flooded is 200 feet by 30 feet and 2 feet deep. There are massive schools of tadpoles within this temporary pond. In places, two feet deep by 10' x 2' with thousands and thousands of tadpoles. The water is receding at a rate that will have the area dried up by next week. I sent out a school wide email to "Save the Frogs" at our school. Students netted the tadpoles and put them in 5-gallon pails to move to a nearby pond. It has turned out to be a great teaching moment to introduce vocabulary to the students like; -schools, spawning, life cycle, water cycle, stages of metamorphosis and habitat'." - Bay Elementary School Teacher and Save The Frogs Day Event Orangizer
What a great way to Save The Frogs!
"The docents and Conservation Teen Scientists of Zoo Miami hosted a SAVE THE FROGS! booth at the Party for the Planet Earth Day event at the Zoo. We had all kinds of informational posters, quizzes and interactive games. We put an iPod with frog sounds inside the toad abode so we had froggie music all day long. A very popular draw to our tables is "frog food" and the tadpoles. We did temporary frog tattoos (for donations) - we didn't really raise much money this weekend but we certainly got to raise a lot of awareness. A fun game is our magnetic letter Amphibian Anagram word scramble and a fun activity is our Frog Jump. Everyone loves our little frog and tadpole sock puppets and we enjoy teaching kids to love and appreciate frogs early on. We laminated and cut out frogs to trace and color on a table covered with white paper and we also had a box full of assorted frog coloring pages. We had a great event and plan on doing it again next year!! Thanks for all you are doing to help SAVE THE FROGS!"
-- Holly Draluck, Docent, Zoo Miami
"The Goddard School and G3 Save The Frogs Chapter had a TOADally awesome time at our first annual Save The Frogs Day event. We had 86 people in attendance, and our G3 Chapter raised $600 for the Save The Frogs organization! ? We had a color run, worked on our schools outdoor classroom, built a frog pond and flower/veggie garden, and talked with people about Save the Frogs and how they can help! We are so glad we were apart of this and can not wait until next years event." - Goddard School Teacher and Save The Frogs Day Event Organizer