Magazine article Insight on the News

Hop to It, Frog Lovers! A Crisis Looms

Magazine article Insight on the News

Hop to It, Frog Lovers! A Crisis Looms

Article excerpt

It's easy enough to dismiss a lot of environmentalist hysteria about species extinction as arrogance anchored in the present. If that bunch had been around a while back, we'd be overrun with saber-toothed tigers, mastodons and pterodactyls, for gosh sakes. But even dour cynicism must have limits, and ours was reached with the news that the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County may be endangered. To arms!

The California red-legged frog may or may not be the same species that inspired Mark Twain to write his famous short story. A clue that it indeed may be the critter in question is that this particular breed is the largest frog native to the western United States. But the sponsors of the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Calaveras County Fair are not sure, and they are a bit touchy about the matter.

Jim Smiley's frog "could have been a bullfrog, red-legged frog or Kermit the Frog," groused Laurie Giannini, spokeswoman for the fair. Apparently, fair officials are a little shy -- no, we won't exaggerate and claim they are "hopping mad" -- about the matter because one of the aforementioned creatures, the red-legged one, is a threatened species. …

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