119 illegal African clawed frogs seized in Nevada
RENO, Nev. - State wildlife officials raided three residences in the Reno area where they seized more than 100 African clawed frogs, which they say are prohibited because they can pose a serious danger to native frogs and entire ecosystems. (Picture that swat team, posing as armature herpetologists that all just happen to pull up in a climate controlled, armor-plated Hummer)
No charges have been filed against the people who illegally possessed a total of 119 frogs because they are cooperating fully with law enforcement to "get any and all prohibited frogs off the streets," the Nevada Department of Wildlife said in a statement on Wednesday. ("We got a real situation with these frogs just runnin' wild on the streets - pimping, selling drugs, accidental scaring people by appearing to make a bowler hat "magically move" in the old Percy mansion...")
"We are very pleased we were able to seize them before they were circulated to people in the area and possibly escaped into the wild," said Cameron Waithman, game warden captain for NDOW's Division of Law Enforcement. (Exactly how do you 'circulate' illegal frogs? Is there some kind of signal you're supposed to make in the airport bathroom stall to let the guy taking a dump next to you know that you've got hot frogs ready for the taking?)
African clawed frogs grow about as large as bullfrogs and can destroy entire ecosystems by voraciously eating native fish, amphibians and just about anything they can swallow, he said. (Kind of like Delta Burke)
Scientists also believe these frogs carry and spread an African fungus that has decimated frog populations worldwide, Waithman said. The frog carries the fungus on its skin and is immune to its deadly effects. (Again the Delta Burke similarities are eerie...)
Because of the danger the frogs pose, people who knowingly possess such amphibians face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, he said. (Six months in jail for illegal frog possession, and yet OJ is still free to golf at will...)
"If people turn these frogs in voluntarily, we don't have an interest in writing them tickets," said Waithman.
"However, if we find even more people involved with keeping and selling these frogs, we will prosecute at the conclusion of our investigations. These amphibians really are a threat to Nevada, and we have a duty to seize any and all that we find." (119 frogs are a threat to Nevada. Never mind the legalized prostitution, the celebrated excess of Las Vegas, or the amount of energy and water used to make that hell hole livable...it's the frogs that are gonna screw it all up.)
The African clawed frog was used in hospitals in the 1940s and 1950s as a way to detect pregnancy in women. It produces eggs when injected with the urine of a pregnant woman. (Makes sense to me...beats peeing on a stick...)
Scientists say the fungus on the frogs works like a parasite that makes it difficult for the frogs to use their pores, quickly causing them to die of dehydration. It has been linked to the extinction of amphibians from Australia to Costa Rica.
Japan reported its first cases of frog deaths from the fungus in January 2007, prompting research groups to declare an emergency in the country. (Okay, people...did no one read The Boy Who Cried Wolf? If this is the level of threat that classifies on multiple continents as a national 'emergency', no one's gonna believe you when some cults jump on the subway carrying ricin gas...) On the Caribbean island of Dominica, the fungus has almost wiped out the mountain chicken, a frog species considered an island delicacy. (Wow, I guess it really does taste like chicken)