Alaska Herpetological Society
While there are many amphibian species that AHS considers highly dangerous to Alaska's Native species, the Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is particularly threatening (READ THIS ARTICLE). This frog is highly invasive in many parts of North America and has done well in very cold climates. Adults and tadpoles alike are very large and aggressive toward other frog species, many of which they eat! Not only will they eat native frogs, they eat large quantities of other food items, making food difficult to find for the native species. In addition, bullfrogs are known to carry diseases such as chytridiomycosis and ranavirus which can spread rapidly to other frogs. Because they are not ornamental, they may be able to survive in Alaska, they can carry diseases, are typically unwanted organisms and can sometimes be raised for food, they are clearly illegal to import into or sell within Alaska.
According to www.savethedrogs.com:
Bullfrogs are native to eastern North America. Unfortunately, they have been transported around the world for use as food, and have now become established in at least 15 countries, as well as throughout western North America. Being a large amphibian, they not only compete with native amphibians for food resources, but they are actually voracious consumers of any frog that can fit in their mouth!
After the early settlers of California ate unsustainable numbers of native California Red Legged Frog populations, the 1890's Californian entrepreneurs decided that bullfrogs would be needed to appease the appetites of these frog-loving gold miners, so they imported large numbers of bullfrogs from the Eastern USA, starting bullfrog farms and setting them loose in the wild where they have wreaked havoc on native frog populations ever since. To this day, bullfrogs eat native frogs, outcompete them for food, and spread infectious diseases like chytridiomycosis, which has driven 100 frog species to complete extinction.
How bad is the problem? Over 5 million bullfrogs get imported into San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City each year, and a recent study demonstrated that 62% of these frogs are infected with the deadly chytrid fungus! Bullfrogs have become established in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Colorado, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and Uruguay.
AHS has recently learned that the Alaska Division of the U.S. Department of Education planned to introduce Bullfrogs to Alaska for the purpose of "fighting mosquitoes" during the summer of 1929. As you will see below, there is conflicting information about what was to take place. The first article said that they would be introduced in the Aleutians and the second indicates that they would be introduced in southeastern Alaska. While we are not yet sure if this experiment ever took place, where, and what the results were, we are working with the U.S. Library of Congress to try to track down any additional literature pertaining to this.
The Woodville Republican Newspaper Feb. 23, 1929