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Maui group aims to expand coqui frog eradication efforts

J.B. Friday, University of Hawaiʻi
J.B. Friday, University of Hawaiʻi

WAILUKU, Hawaiʻi — A group fighting invasive species on Maui wants to expand efforts to eradicate coqui frogs near a popular surfing spot before the animals spread.

The Maui Invasive Species Committee is considering either enlisting community volunteers to take on the coqui near Peʻahi on Maui's north shore or hire a nonprofit company to do the job.

Peʻahi is a potential hotspot for “hitchhiking coqui” to jump on cars and other materials, like plants, and be transported to other parts of Maui, said Susan Frett, the committee's community coqui control coordinator, at a Haʻiku Community Association town hall meeting.

The committee has eliminated nearly two dozen coqui frog populations on Maui, but nine active sites remain.

The volunteer approach would need six to 12 community members to work once a week. The committee would supply them with premixed citric acid, spray equipment and supplies.

The other option would be to hire a temporary crew from nonprofit company American Conservation Experience, which would cost an estimated $125,000. Funding could come from grants or donations, Frett said.

Coqui frogs are beloved in their native Puerto Rico, but they are an invasive species in Hawaiʻi where they have no natural predators.

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