The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Department of the Interior has created a draft recovery plan for the Coquí Llanero, Puerto Rico’s smallest tree frog and is requesting comments by the public.
The Coqui Llanero is currently on the Endangered Species list.
The FWS introduces its plan with a surprisingly lyrical description of the tiny tree frog:
“Kee, kee,” a male coquí llanero softly sings from dusk to dawn in a Puerto Rican wetland. Hearing its high-pitched call is rare because the tiny frog is only found in one freshwater wetland in the municipality of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
Like many endangered species, the Coqui Llanero is not only found in a small space, it is also quite picky about where it will live and procreate. Coqui Llanero will lay eggs on only one plant: Sagittaria lancifolia, also known as the duck potato.
But the Coqui Llanero is also threatened by invasive plant species, development of its habitat by humans, and climate change.
90% of the land where the Coqui Llanero now lives is managed by the U.S. Department of Defense, while the remaining 10% is under the control of the territorial government. The Dept. of Defense lands are being considered for residential development. A nearby landfill is causing contamination of the water in this area, as are chemicals in use for agriculture and for road management in the area.
The plan is to develop three stable communities of Coqui Llanero, which would allow the frogs to be removed from the endangered list.
Strategies include three priority #1 actions:
- Protect the existing population of wild frogs.
- Monitor the wild frogs and their habitat.
- Find suitable places to introduce new populations.
There are also two #2 priority tactics planned:
- Develop a habitat suitability model, using statistical methods to identify places where new populations might be successful.
- Build public awareness and education around the problem.
The anticipated cost is $1,085,000, with investments ranging from $580,000 to use conservation techniques to protect the existing population to $20,000 to educate people.
If the project is fully funded and successful, the Cocqui Llanero could be removed from the endangered species list by 2030.
The FWS will accept public comments on the plan through September 7, 2018. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Coquí llanero Draft Recovery Plan Comments” in the subject line.