Man hopes to move coquis
to Puerto Rico

By Diana Leone

A Big Island man who has questioned attempts to eradicate non-native coqui frogs in Hawaii said he is excited about the prospect of shipping some of the tiny amphibians home to Puerto Rico.

Sydney Ross Singer's CHIRP (Coqui Hawaiian Integration and Re-education Project) hopes to find a suitable entity in Puerto Rico to receive an as-yet undetermined number of the quarter-size frogs.

The male coqui frog makes intense chirping sounds that annoy many isle residents, especially when there are numerous frogs. The animals are considered invasive in Hawaii because their presence causes economic and ecological harm.

However, to "repatriate" coqui to their homeland, Singer must first overcome several hurdles. According to workers with the state departments of Agriculture and Land & Natural Resources, at minimum Singer would need to:

>> Get a permit from DLNR for transporting the frogs.

>> Prove to the state Department of Agriculture that the frogs will be held in escape-proof containers.

>> Have a responsible entity, such as a university, in Puerto Rico agree to receive the frogs.

>> Have a qualified herpetologist or veterinarian certify the animals free of any parasites or diseases from Hawaii that could be transferred back to Puerto Rico.

Singer, who has a Web site advocating "acceptance" of the coqui in Hawaii, is fazed by none of this.

"I think these are all logistic issues," Singer said yesterday.

He said he does not have any frogs in captivity himself and does not plan to export them from his Pahoa home, but wants to give others a "humane option" for ridding their yards of the frogs.

"I hope there will become a new cottage industry of frog catchers," Singer said.

Mindy Wilkinson, DLNR invasive-species coordinator, said if Singer can clear all the hurdles and pay for the shipments, "he's welcome to try. ... The state, however, does not think that hand-capture and repatriation is a reasonable method of ridding the state of coqui frogs."

State and federal agencies have focused on finding a a substance that will kill the frogs without harming other animals or plants. Citric acid and hydrated lime are being used in limited amounts, and EPA approval for use of caffeine concentrate is pending.

To hear what a coqui sounds like or learn more about it, visit To report a coqui frog to the state Department of Agriculture, dial 808-586-PEST. To reach Singer, call 808-935-5563 or visit

Department of Land and Natural Resources

E-mail to City Desk


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