Scientist urges Jamaicans to report sightings of invasive Cuban tree frogs

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Scientist urges Jamaicans to report sightings of invasive Cuban tree frogs
This Cuban tree frog was caught in Clarendon and taken to Hope Zoo in St Andrew. (Photos: Joseph Brown)

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — A local scientist is appealing to Jamaicans to report sightings of an invasive species of frogs after receiving photos of the amphibians in two areas on the island’s south coast, noting that the creatures can harm our ecosystem.

Terrestrial Biologist Damion Whyte, who is known for his environmental science work, says he and his colleagues have received reports of the invasive Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in St Catherine and Clarendon.

“The first official sighting was made by a colleague scientist three years ago. He spotted a green frog on a fish farm in Clarendon,” Whyte told the Jamaica Observer.

“Specimens have also been identified in Denbigh, and we have continued to track the spread of these frogs throughout the two parishes. With the help of social media, persons have also shared pictures of their encounters,” he added.

According to Whyte, one Instagram user who posts under the handle Julian aka @skillarchii showed a picture of Cuban tree frogs she found on her window ledge in Four Paths, Clarendon. Whyte also said he saw a Twitter post with pictures of frogs that had been first encountered in 2018 in Palmer’s Cross, Clarendon.

“We also continue to get reports from fish farms,” Whyte said.

“What we need is to know all the areas where they are so that we can put in place a management plan,” Whyte explained, adding that the aim is to prevent the amphibians from damaging Jamaica’s ecosystem.

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