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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kill the Frogs Before It's Too Late: Message to San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge Go ahead, punk: Make my day.
  • Go ahead, punk: Make my day.
Killer frogs lurk in the dark waters of Golden Gate Park's Lily Pond, awaiting the moment when a visiting youngster totes a few tadpoles home to Auburn and lets them loose in a stream -- thus threatening aquatic ecosystems in the Sacramento River Delta and beyond.

Notwithstanding the danger, bureaucrats with the California Department of Fish and Game and the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks have known about our local African Clawed Frog infestation for years, and not eradicated the critters. Big-time environmental organizations, meanwhile, have remained mute. Retired Fish and Game warden Miles Young, who first raised the alarm about the creatures in the early 2000, is furious.

"Where the hell is the (Center for Biological Diversity) or the Sierra Club, or anyone for that matter?" wrote Young in an e-mail to fellow frog foes.

In Australia, when legitimate authorities and environmental groups

failed to prevent an amphibian invasion, the country was beset by violent anti-frog vigilantism.

Is that in the works for San Francisco?

"Fellow frog foes" wasn't mere alliterative indulgence: There

really exists a community of activists concerned that African Clawed

Frogs lurking in Lily Pond, across JFK Boulevard from the

Conservatory of Flowers, might get out and wreak environmental havoc.

This is a war. And I am a soldier.
  • This is a war. And I am a soldier.
Thus far they've been peaceful, and there's no reason to believe they won't remain so.
Like their enemies, these frog non-fanciers have laid low, keeping

their powder dry for the day they might assemble to help drain the pond,

and grind up, poison, dry out, or otherwise exterminate the pond's

population of eat-everything frogs. But so far they've been snubbed by city and state bureaucrats.

"The rejected us on several grounds. And when I responded with reasonable and

factual rebuttals the communication stopped.  We never got answers. All we got

was a 'NO,'" Young wrote. He's hoping for "the backing of one of the large [environmental] groups -- and they need to submit some

pressing requests such as getting permits to check out the rest of the ponds in

Golden Gate Park."

There exists absolutely no evidence that people who advocate cleansing Golden Gate Park of invasive frogs are liable to form vigilante squads.

It's nonetheless instructive to examine the case of Australia, where citizen vigilante groups have formed to fight and kill invasive poisonous toads. Per a 2007 story in the Sunday Times of London:

A cane toad the size of a small dog has been killed by self-styled

vigilantes in Darwin, raising fears over the poisonous animal's rapid

spread across a swath of northern Australia.

According to London's The Independent, the Australian frog vigilantes aren't your warm,cuddly variety.

"Groups of volunteer trappers fan out through the city, carrying torches,

traps and plastic bags," The Independent reported. " A local politician has recommended attacking the amphibians with golf clubs and cricket bats."

At the time of the vigilante assaults, the frog war threatened to escalate further, according to The Independent.

Frog Watch is not only organizing military-style operations, which have

taken on an added urgency as the monsoon season builds, swelling the

waterways and flushing the toads into a breeding frenzy. It is also

calling on the Australian armed forces to do their bit.


Watch. ... said the military could play an important role. "We need as many

people on the ground as we can possibly get, and if the military can

work out strategies for controlling toads on their ground, that's fine

with us...".

Again, we possess no evidence, direct or otherwise, that in the Lily Pond frog invasion lies the making of a military invasion of San Francisco.

But we can dream, can't we?

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Matt Smith


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