Wed, May 11, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Ecological disaster feared after Miaoli frog mix-up

‘NEGLIGENCE’:In a bid to promote biodiversity, Miaoli officials mistakenly included 36kg of American bullfrogs when they released Chinese bullfrogs into the wild

Staff Writer, with CNA

A bullfrog clambers onto a rock in a pool at the Tung Blossom Park in Tongluo Township, Miaoli County, on Monday. The county government said it would try to remove alien American bullfrogs from ponds after they were mistakenly released.

Photo: CNA

Miaoli County officials were mobilized earlier this week to capture American bullfrogs they had released on Thursday last week in ponds around the county in a bid to prevent a possible “ecological disaster.”

Thirty-six kilograms of American bullfrogs (Rana catesbiana) were among the 420kg of indigenous Chinese bullfrogs (Rana rugulosa) the county thought it was releasing into the ponds to promote biodiversity.

Miaoli Biological Society chairman Hung Wei-feng (洪維鋒) said the big and loud American bullfrog is dubbed the Tyrannosaurus rex of the frog world because it gorges itself on smaller living things, including shrimps, fish and other frogs.

Hung said it was hard to believe that the two species were confused when released together because they have noticeable differences in their shapes and croaks.

“There could be an unimaginable ecological catastrophe if the American bullfrogs are not removed in time, since now is the time [of year] when they lay their eggs. One of them can lay up to 100,000 eggs,” he said.

“The negligence of county officials will add one species of marine life at the cost of several others,” Hung added.

The Miaoli County Government said that in addition to trying its best to retrieve the American bullfrogs from the ponds, it would also hold the supplier of the frogs accountable for breaking the terms of the contract.

The biological society, however, said that it doubted the American bullfrogs could be totally removed. It added that the county’s release of frogs into the wild was illegal because Taiwan does not have a law allowing the random release of any creature into the wild.

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