The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife recently intercepted one coqui frog that hopped onto a Micronesia Air Cargo Services plane.
Kevin Kapileo, who is a brown tree snake dog detector handler, intercepted the lone frog at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last Friday. The frog has since been contained and preserved in a jar, and will be used by DFW for sampling and research.
The coqui frog is an invasive species native to Puerto Rico that was introduced to Guam and Hawaii in early 2000. While only being slightly larger than an inch when fully grown, the frog is marked as invasive species due to the very loud calls males make at night and the severe effects the species can have on a native ecosystem’s insect and bug populations.
DFW director Manny Pangelinan highlighted yesterday the work of Kapileo and others at DFW who prevent invasive species such as brown tree snakes and the coqui frog from wreaking havoc on the CNMI’s native ecosystems. Pangelinan also urged DFW’s partners to maintain vigilance when conducting inspections.
“We make our island [and its ecosystems] what it is by doing our job. If we’re not vigilant in conducting these types of inspections, we might see a lot of new pests: those that are friendly, those that are less friendly, and those that are dangerous,” said Pangelinan.