WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to list Puerto Rico’s tiny coqui llanero tree frog as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The agency also plans to designate 615 acres of freshwater wetland in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico as critical habitat. Most of the land in the proposed designation is owned by the U.S. Navy, which had planned to sell much of the land for residential development.
The coqui llanero was only discovered in 2005, and the agency has not conducted a survey to determine the exact population of the species. The Caribbean Primate Research Center, which filed the original listing petition with the agency, estimates that there only maybe 50,000 of the frogs on the old naval base.
The coqui llanero is the smallest of the 17 known species of coqui and has a distinctive chirp that is so high pitched it is hardly discernable to the human ear. “Coqui” is an onomatopoeia for the chirping sound the frogs make.
The public has until Dec. 12, 2011 to comment on the proposed listing.