NR02-12 July 2, 2002
Illegal African Clawed Frog Turned In
Honolulu – An illegal frog was found on the campus of Kaiser High School last week and turned in to Department of Agriculture officials yesterday. The vice principal of the school said the frog was found in a plastic container with a note that said the frog was not from Hawaii and the owner did not want to release the frog into the stream. Agriculture officials identified the five-inch long frog as an African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis), which is illegal for private persons to possess in Hawaii.
A photo opportunity of the frog is scheduled this afternoon between 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 llalo Street (corner of Cooke and Ilalo Streets).
The gray-colored African Clawed Frogs are native to the sub-Sahara desert in Africa. Totally aquatic, it derives its name from the claws on its hind legs that is uses to tear up food. It is known as a voracious eater that will eat almost anything that can fit in its mouth, such as fish, worms, insects, decaying biota and other frogs. It is also known as an invasive species all over the world and have pushed out native species from their natural habitats. These frogs should never be released in the wild.
Anyone with information regarding this type of frog is asked to call the Department of Agriculture at 586-0844.
Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to voluntarily turn them in under the department’s Amnesty Program, which offers immunity from prosecution. Anyone with information or knowledge of illegal animals in Hawaii is asked to call the department’s PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).