Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Monday, October 8, 2001

Green tree frogs are
not the noisy pests

Question: Why is Pets Unlimited bringing in tree frogs? We are being bombarded with all different types of frogs. The Agriculture Department hasn't solved the problems with the coqui frogs. Now we are going to have another problem with tree frogs. Stop letting these companies bring in these pests.

Answer: The state Department of Agriculture received a "flurry of calls" about the green tree frogs when the pet store advertised their sale recently.

But an inspection verified that the species of frogs being sold is allowed via permit in Hawaii, said Domingo Cravalho, an animal specialist with the Plant Quarantine Division.

In fact, the pet store has been selling these frogs during seasonal periods for years.

The use of the common name for the coqui apparently is causing concern and confusion. Cravalho said the dwarf barking tree frog, which is the coqui frog that's driving many islanders, especially on the Big Island, batty with noise, is different from the green tree frog.

The latter can be imported to Hawaii under permit, then resold without a permit, Cravalho said.

Pets Unlimited has the proper permit to import the green tree frog, one of the few amphibians the state allows in.

These "basic frogs" are popular mainly among adolescents, who typically buy them for terrariums or aquariums, said Dwayne Chung, a sales clerk at Pets Unlimited. The store has been bringing them in "for a long time" on a seasonal basis, he said. Of the 50 frogs brought in recently, only two were left as of late last week.

"As far as imports, all animal shipments would be inspected (by agriculture inspectors) and be double-checked that they are allowable ones," Cravalho said.

However, he acknowledged there could be cases in which some frogs were illegally brought in, then sold, with the buyer not knowing the species is banned in Hawaii.

If you have questions or concerns about any animal, call the state pest hot line at 586-PEST (7378).


My two elderly aunties and I had just been to the Senior Fair at the Blaisdell Center on Saturday, Sept. 22, and were heading back home when one of them fell along Young Street. Though she is 82, she weighs almost as much as I do, and I was unable to lift her off the sidewalk. Fortunately, a couple driving by stopped to help.

They not only helped get my aunty up, they even drove her to the Honolulu Kaiser Clinic. I was so worried about my aunty that I failed to get their names. When they arrived at Kaiser, they secured a wheelchair for her from their car to the check-in area. I am happy to say that my aunty only had multiple abrasions. The Tom family would like to thank the couple who came to our aid that day. -- Tammy Tom


I was at Honolulu Airport on Saturday, Sept. 22, and am quite upset that the person checking the baggage, with agriculture inspection, had a small TV under the monitor and was watching the UH football game and not the items going through the X-ray machine. I would think the state, especially now, would monitor this kind of behavior very carefully. -- No Name

("We will be looking into this and will be taking appropriate action," said Hilda Montoya, port director of the U.S. Plant Protection and Quarantine Office at Honolulu Airport.)

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