California red-logged frogs are federally listed as a threatened species and protected by law. They are the largest native frog in the Western United States and have disappeared from 70% of their historic range due to human activities. Today they are only found in isolated pockets in California and Baja. A golf course in northern California has been killing them by removing water from their habitat, which causes their egg masses to dry up so they die.
“We intend to see that this conduct is fully prosecuted, and have asked wildlife agencies to ensure the entities responsible never play god with endangered wildlife again,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. (Source: Eco Watch)
The reason draining keeps taking place at Sharp Golf Course near Pacifica is flooding problems, but a scientific study found the best solution is simply to remove the golf course. Restoring the natural habitat, rather than destroying it is often the best choice.
Even though they have been prohibited from doing so, staff at the golf course have continued activities that kill the frogs and damage the habitat. The March 2nd court filing says, “…even though the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS” or “Service”) has now expressly told RPD that it may not move egg masses without obtaining formal incidental take authorization pursuant to Sections 7 or 10 of the ESA. See Dec. 8, 2011 letter from FWS to RPD (Declaration of Howard Crystal (“Crystal Decl.”), Exhibit (“Ex.”) ”
California red-legged frogs are the preferred prey of San Francisco garter snakes, so when the frogs are killed by golf course staff, they are also depleting the snakes’ main food source. These snakes are an endangered subspecies and are also protected by law. There may be only 1,000-2,000 of them remaining in the San Francisco area.
To tell San Francisco mayor Ed Lee to protect the red-legged frogs and garter snakes, sign the petition here.
Image Credit Chris Brown, Public Domain