Bullfrogs invading Vancouver Island and destroying local species

American Bullfrogs are invading Vancouver Island, and there’s concern they’re threatening the local ecosystem.

Over the last decade, the amphibians have been multiplying in number each year, slowly taking over the Island’s ponds.

Stan Orchard, a conservation biologist, said the frogs are eating species including songbirds and baby ducks.

“They’re eating things above and below the water,” he explained. “Virtually anything that fits in their stomachs they will swallow.”

The frogs are tough to spot during the day, but Orchard hunts them at night.

He uses a patented device that allows him to create an electrical field in the water. This temporarily paralyzes the frogs for capture before they’re frozen and disposed of.

While he’s collected over 30,000 frogs since 2007, Orchard’s efforts are supported by local government only. The province — responsible for invasive species under the B.C. Wildlife Act — hasn’t provided any financial assistance.

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“You’d think they’d be natural allies when you’re trying to come up with an innovative way —  a much-improved way — of controlling what’s recognized as an international conservation problem,” Orchard said.

He doesn’t think the government is doing enough to eradicate the problem. But the Ministry of Environment said they’ve completed an in-depth assessment of the issue.

“The spread, impacts and mitigation measures for bullfrogs have been thoroughly assessed by the Ministry staff in consultation with independent experts from around the world.”