>From: Derek Stack, Canadian Environmental Network/Reseau canadien de (by
>of Don Wedge <email@example.com>) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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>'Kristine Doucet' <email@example.com>; André Fauteux <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
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><firstname.lastname@example.org>; Jean-Luc Labelle <email@example.com>; Anne Le
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>Date: Monday, October 05, 1998 10:24 PM
>Subject: Pesticides & Deformed Frogs !
>>>X-BlackMail: ms01-49.ott.istar.ca, sympatico, email@example.com,
>>>X-Authenticated-Timestamp: 12:18:39(EDT) on October 02, 1998
>>>X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Pro Version 4.1
>>>Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998 12:11:48 -0300
>>>From: Bradford Duplisea - Sierra Club <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>Subject: Pesticides & Deformed Frogs !
>>>PUBLICATION The Ottawa Citizen
>>>DATE Sun 27 Sep 1998
>>>PAGE NUMBER A7
>>>BYLINE Donna Jacobs
>>>COLUMN TITLE Special Report: Science and the Environment
>>>STORY LENGTH 2352
>>>Pesticides: On the farm. In the fields.: After seven years of
>>>the clues, researcher Martin Ouellet is ready to indict a culprit in the
>>>mass deformities and early death of frogs: pesticides used on the farm.
>>>Donna Jacobs reports.
>>>It's a double biological murder mystery. What agents, possibly operating
>>>internationally, are horribly deforming so many species of frogs? And,
>>>fate did all the other missing frogs meet?
>>>Martin Ouellet, a 30-year-old veterinarian who left his small animal
>>>practice near Montreal, has devoted the past seven years to hunting down
>>>the answer. He has the world's largest collection of deformed frogs in
>>>lab at McGill University's Redpath Museum. For every misshapen frog he
>>>collects, he examines and releases hundreds. ``I don't want to take
>>>he says, ``because they're already under so much pressure.''
>>>He and a team of Canadian Wildlife Service biologists, have now examined
>>>nearly 30,000 frogs.
>>>He submits his photos into evidence. A frog with one eye staring out from
>>>its back. A frog with legs growing from its belly. A frog with three
>>>legs. A frog dragging itself along with stumps for hind legs or with hind
>>>legs fused. A frog missing an eye, or fingers or toes, or having extra
>>>digits, one with 23 extra toes.
>>>His autopsy reports are equally chilling. Many frogs that looked normal
>>>outside were being poisoned to death inside by clogged and yellowed
>>>Frogs that look like males are female inside. Lab results show altered
>>>Even last year, Dr. Ouellet was circumspect in naming his primary
>>>He said he needed more proof before he could shift suspicion to
>>>Now, he is no longer hedging. The culprit, he says, is pesticides.
>>>Although his data proves guilt by association, the only way to convict
>>>pesticides, he says, is to reveal the mechanisms that disfigure frogs and
>>>to reproduce these deformities in frog- pond experiments.
>>>He finds the grotesque frogs along a 250-kilometre stretch on both sides
>>>the St. Lawrence River, from Montreal eastward to Montmagny, Que. Only a
>>>man who has spent many summer months bending over frog ponds in farmers'
>>>fields could speak so plainly.
>>>He has catalogued 25 types of deformities among 16 amphibians -- spring
>>>peepers, grey tree frogs, mink frogs, wood frogs, green frogs, pickerel
>>>frogs, northern leopard frogs, bullfrogs, American toads, eastern newts,
>>>mudpuppies, redback salamanders, blue- and yellow-spotted salamanders,
>>>northern two-line salamanders and northern dusky salamanders.
>>>``We have to know why the frogs are deformed and why they are dying,''
>>>Dr. Ouellet. ``We're also living in the St. Lawrence Valley and we put
>>>food coming from there on our tables.''
>>>Sometimes he finds the evidence left behind in plain view at the scene --
>>>empty pesticide containers lying right there in the water. Dr. Ouellet
>>>watched as one farmer, unaware that the scientist was photographing frogs
>>>nearby, cavalierly burned plastic containers at the edge of an irrigation
>>>pond. ``All these ponds are used to irrigate fields, and sometimes they
>>>chemical soup,'' he says. ``We're eating the food so there is a big human
>>>His most dramatic findings: On agricultural land that has not been
>>>for many decades, an average of one frog in every hundred is deformed --
>>>ranging (depending on the site) from a zero-to-12 per cent deformity
>>>On working farms that use insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and
>>>fertilizers, an average of 12 frogs in every hundred are deformed --
>>>yielding zero-to-100 percent deformity rates.
>>>In July, Dr. Ouellet surveyed a farm property near St-Charles, 25
>>>kilometres southeast of Quebec City. There, every single frog he picked
>>>was deformed -- missing toes and parts of legs. The deformities occurred
>>>three different species -- leopard, mink and green frogs. Overall, this
>>>summer the news was bad: ``There were fewer frogs but way more
>>>Jean Rodrigue, a CWS biologist based in Ste-Foy, Que., has been Dr.
>>>Ouellet's frequent field-research partner. When Dr. Ouellet presented
>>>earlier findings, scientists challenged the data based on a small sample
>>>size of a few thousand frogs. ``After seven years, we are finding exactly
>>>the same pattern but the sample size is huge and very hard to
>>>On the spreadsheets of his enormous database, probably the largest field
>>>study in the world, each frog has its own line.
>>>That means the PhD candidate will spend an intense winter in data
>>>to find the common instruments in the deaths and deformities.
>>>The Canadian contribution is significant amid the increasingly crowded
>>>field of scientists who, worldwide, are working flat out to solve the
>>>riddle. However, the usual scientific curiosity has taken on a sense of
>>>urgency for at least three reasons.
>>>First, some frogs are already on the threatened-species list in several
>>>countries, including Canada.
>>>Dr. Ouellet's academic supervisor is David Green, a professor of biology
>>>McGill and former national co-ordinator of the Canadian Declining
>>>Populations Task Force. Among Canada's 45 frog and toad species and 21
>>>salamander species, according to Dr. Green, 17 are in decline. Several of
>>>those are designated as vulnerable or threatened species, mostly among
>>>western species, because of human activities: encroachment, farming and
>>>logging practices. (For years, Canadian farmers have received attractive
>>>subsidies from the public purse to drain their lands for cultivation.)
>>>Mass deformities have not caused all of the global population declines.
>>>Individual populations cannot thrive, however, when every other frog is
>>>abnormal. Severe deformities sentence young frogs to an early Darwinian
>>>death, which explains why Dr. Ouellet never finds a grossly misshapen
>>>Second, amphibians are an important ``sentinel'' for the health of water,
>>>soil and air. Frogs are particularly susceptible during their dramatic,
>>>hormone-driven change from water-breathing tadpoles to air-breathing
>>>Some frogs, such as mink frogs, green frogs and bullfrogs, spend two or
>>>three years in breeding ponds as tadpoles, perhaps the single reason they
>>>show particularly high levels of deformities.
>>>Third, hormone-disrupting chemicals which play havoc with master glands
>>>organs, such as the thyroid and liver, have raised alarm among
>>>One particularly suspect class of pesticides are retinoids, compounds
>>>derived from Vitamin A, known to produce birth defects in humans and
>>>vertebrates. Hormone disruption often affects the thyroid, which directs
>>>huge number of body functions, from metabolism to sexual development, and
>>>the liver, which is crucial for filtering out environmental contaminants
>>>and toxins in the blood. Researchers are looking at human health -- at
>>>increases in prostate and breast cancer, at declining human fertility, at
>>>abnormal sexual organs in children -- and sensing a pattern.
>>>Research done in Canada, California, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and
>>>shows that children of parents who work or live in farm settings have
>>>deformities. These include: fused fingers and toes, missing fingers and
>>>toes, deformed arms and legs and abnormal hearts, kidneys and sexual
>>>organs. Mothers who work in agricultural industries are more likely to
>>>miscarry or have stillborn children.
>>>``There are big problems going on out there,'' says Dr. Ouellet. ``The
>>>frogs are probably trying to tell us something, so it's probably
>>>Already, in some rural areas in Canada, the once-deafening sound of frogs
>>>peeping and bullfrogs croaking is down to a few voices.
>>>People talk to Dr. Ouellet about it. ``People all over the place say, `I
>>>remember going to that pond when I was a kid and there were tons of
>>>or `I remember when it was so loud it was impossible to sleep. Now it's
>>>hard even to hear one frog singing.'''
>>>While deformities naturally capture headlines and the public's attention,
>>>they may be the least severe situation. ``If there's too much toxicity
>>>the eggs die,'' says Dr. Ouellet, ``you will have no frogs at all.''
>>>Scientists and nature lovers are already dreading the season that some of
>>>them believe is quite close: the long Silent Summer.
>>>Some researchers blame the steep decline in frog populations on UVB rays
>>>blazing through a thin ozone layer and destroying genetic material in
>>>and tadpoles. For others, the culprit is an affliction: a frog virus,
>>>bacterium, fungus or parasite.
>>>Only Dr. Ouellet openly points to pesticides: ``We have very
>>>The more circumspect Mr. Rodrigue is amused by his colleague's
>>>outspokenness. ``I guess it is incriminating. But of what?''
>>>These two men have spent months of their lives catching frogs; some days
>>>start at 4 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. They work in rain, swatting bugs and
>>>mosquitoes. Dr. Ouellet holds the record for examining 1,058 frogs in one
>>>Pressed to speculate about causes, Mr. Rodrigue says only that he has a
>>>feeling that the problem lies with insecticides. Whenever he sees a
>>>strawberry field or a potato field, he is pretty sure the nearby pond
>>>hold a high percentage of deformed frogs. (In potato fields whose ponds
>>>produced deformed frogs, the scientists have documented use of the
>>>herbicides metribuzin and diquat and the insecticides phorate,
>>>azinphosmethyl, cypermethrin, oxamyl and chlorothalonil, and the
>>>Strawberries are known to carry the highest load of pesticide residues:
>>>``Wash your strawberries very well,'' he says.
>>>But he won't draw conclusions about whether and which pesticides because
>>>inconsistencies, the pristine ponds with five per cent of the frogs
>>>deformed and the working farm ponds with no deformities. He's waiting for
>>>their data to presents the answers.
>>>Dr. Ouellet says he also expects to see deformed frogs in ponds next to
>>>corn fields. (Some farm ponds with deformed frogs are next to corn fields
>>>sprayed with the herbicide atrazine and the insecticide carbofuran; both
>>>have hormone-disrupting effects on wildlife.)
>>>Both men criticize the practice of farmers who remove vegetation around
>>>their farm ponds and who mow their fields right to the water's edge. This
>>>gives pesticides a direct, unfiltered runoff path into the ponds. Some
>>>farmers actually spray the water, itself. In both cases, this violates
>>>``buffer zone'' clause -- specific pesticide distances from water --
>>>detailed for some farm chemicals.
>>>In Mont-St-Hilaire, however, the researchers have a huge experimental
>>>``control site.'' The two small mountains, formed by ancient volcanoes
>>>now owned by McGill University, has been declared a biosphere by the
>>>Nations. It's located 45 kilometres east of Montreal, on the St. Lawrence
>>>River's south shore and it's a remnant of the environment before
>>>pesticides. In a world where pesticides ride on air currents for
>>>of kilometres, of course, there is no truly pristine place left on earth.
>>>However, having never had a direct application of farm chemicals,
>>>Mont-St-Hilaire bolsters Dr. Ouellet's damning conclusion about
>>>Among the 7,000 frogs and salamanders he and student assistants Linda
>>>Paetow and Roxane Petel examined there, only 10 had deformities -- all
>>>Fifty or 60 years ago, another generation of researchers had catalogued
>>>16 native frog species and other amphibians and reptiles that lived
>>>Pristine or not, Mont-St-Hilaire now has fewer frog species -- two frog
>>>three salamander species are missing altogether. The old specimens,
>>>at the Redpath Museum and at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, provide a
>>>comparison of frogs from the dawn-of-pesticides era with those from
>>>Amphibian deformity is not a new phenomenon. Mysterious mass deformities
>>>have been documented for some 300 years. And the growing file on deformed
>>>frogs now, particularly in Quebec, Vermont, Minnesota and California,
>>>reflects the increase in the number of scientists looking for them. Dr.
>>>Ouellet's work in agricultural areas, with students Jonatan Blais and
>>>Patrick Labonte, contrasts with the typical wildlife biologists who work
>>>``nice wetlands and don't go into a corn field, which is not fun to
>>>It's disgusting. There's a little water, a cornfield, pesticides. It
>>>If, when the answers are in, the culprit is whole families of pesticides,
>>>the Canadian and U.S. governments may indeed ban their use. Then, says
>>>Ouellet, pesticide companies will just develop new products which, in a
>>>decade or two, will also be proven harmful. ``Whatever the mechanism,
>>>pesticides are always toxic in the end,'' he says flatly. ``That's why
>>>work. Some will disrupt hormones, some will cause direct mortality,
>>>will cause limb deformities.''
>>>He looks to DDT as a perfect example of a chemical with proven toxic
>>>effects on wildlife and humans. Banned in 1972, its metabolite, DDE,
>>>remains in the soil and wildlife even now. Nevertheless, he says,
>>>pesticides companies ``sell it like crazy'' in Africa, South America and
>>>Asia because it's a cheap compound and it's not banned there.
>>>For Dr. Ouellet, the solution is in natural biological controls and
>>>restoring the natural cycle where healthy populations of birds, frogs and
>>>dragonflies, and microscopic predators, suppress crop-chewing insect
>>>populations. He believes this counter-revolution begins not with the
>>>farmer, but with the consumer, that is, everyone who eats. A
>>>apple with a yellow spot, a crooked carrot, a lopsided, imperfectly red
>>>tomato are natural. People would be more willing to buy them, indeed, one
>>>day may go looking for them, when they know the true cost of
>>>In 1998 alone, Minnesota committed $1 million to frog deformity
>>>after school children found deformed frogs on a 1995 field trip. The sum
>>>discourages this Canadian team which is working with a 1998 grant of
>>>$25,000 from the Canadian Wildlife Service and occasional grants or free
>>>services offered by a coalition of McGill, the University of Montreal and
>>>the Quebec ministry of the environment. The scientists don't have enough
>>>money to pay for lab tests. One frog autopsy, one chromosomal analysis
>>>one pond water analysis would cost, says Dr. Ouellet, more than $1,000.
>>>The huge discrepancy in funding strikes the veterinarian as doubly
>>>``We're in worse shape than the U.S.,'' he says. Canada's climate
>>>cultivation along its warm southern border, farming that is more
>>>concentrated and pesticide-consuming. And, he says, as governments cut
>>>research funds to pay for health care, they may be paying for human
>>>diseases from the environmental contamination the researchers are trying
>>>Dr. Ouellet and his colleagues are the only Canadian scientists doing a
>>>large-scale investigation of this mystery. Wherever they've looked,
>>>found deformed frogs. And Dr. Ouellet's ``take home message'' is that if
>>>were looking anywhere else in Canada for deformed frogs, he would find
>>>ILLUSTRATION: Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet / Photo shows a
>>>typical frog deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has documented 25 types in his
>>>study of 30,000 amphibians.; Black & White Photo: John Mitchell, The
>>>Citizen / Dr. Martin Ouellet searches a marsh at night. He
>>>and Canadian Wildlife Service biologists have spent many summers doing
>>>fieldwork.; Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet / Photo shows a
>>>frog deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has documented 25 types in his study
>>>30,000 amphibians.; Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet / Photo shows
>>>typical frog deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has documented 25 types in his
>>>study of 30,000 amphibians.; Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet /
>>>Photo shows a typical frog deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has documented
>>>types in his study of 30,000 amphibians.; Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin
>>>Ouellet / Photo shows a typical frog deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has
>>>documented 25 types in his study of 30,000 amphibians.; Black & White
>>>Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet / Photo shows a typical frog deformity. Dr.
>>>Martin Ouellet has documented 25 types in his study of 30,000
>>>Black & White Photo: Dr. Martin Ouellet / Photo shows a typical frog
>>>deformity. Dr. Martin Ouellet has documented 25 types in his study of
>>>The Ottawa Citizen
>>>PUBLICATION The Ottawa Citizen
>>>DATE Sun 27 Sep 1998
>>>PAGE NUMBER A6
>>>BYLINE Donna Jacobs
>>>COLUMN TITLE Special Report: Science and the Environment
>>>STORY LENGTH 1922
>>>HEADLINE: What have we done to the frogs?: An epidemic of deformed
>>>frogs in his back yard frightens Raymond Greffe. But what
>>>really worries him is why provincial and federal
>>>governments aren't more interested. Donna Jacobs
>>>investigates an environmental harbinger.
>>>NOTRE-DAME-DU-MONT-CARMEL, Quebec - When Raymond Greffe stepped
>>>out of his house in rural Quebec to mow his lawn in July, he
>>>expected to see what he always sees: Hundreds of tiny new leopard
>>>frogs hopping like mad to get out of his way.
>>>Instead, they were ``crawling like toads or just falling over in
>>>He picked one up. Part of its hind leg was missing. He picked up
>>>another and another -- 30 in all and 24 of them had a stump
>>>instead of a hind leg, or no hind leg at all.
>>>All week he watched the frogs struggle. He didn't mow his grass
>>>for a month to give the frogs shade and cover from predators.
>>>``I've been looking at nature since I was 12,'' says the aviation
>>>electronics technician, ``and I never saw a robin eating frogs
>>>before. They were beating frogs against wood. The grackles were
>>>just walking in the grass and picking up frogs all over the place.
>>>The same thing for the crows.''
>>>He phoned the department of the environment and wildlife of
>>>Quebec. While he waited for someone to come to his house, in the
>>>little village of Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, 45 kilometres south
>>>of Montreal, he did some investigating. Was this misshapen
>>>population the result of one batch of genetically damaged eggs?
>>>But examination of frogs along a half-kilometre stretch up the
>>>road showed no difference. The 80-per-cent deformity average held.
>>>``In the beginning I was looking for frogs that were deformed,''
>>>he says. ``After that, I looked for frogs that weren't deformed.''
>>>Don't, he says, ask if he was surprised. He already knew about the
>>>masses of deformed frogs in the U.S. But, most of all, as an
>>>environmentalist who lost many fights in the 1970s and 1980s, he
>>>was resigned. ``I predicted years ago that the frogs would be the
>>>first tobe attacked,'' he says, because they live in water as
>>>eggs and tadpoles and, particularly, because tadpoles breathe
>>>through their skin.
>>>But he just didn't expect to find the calamity literally at his
>>>doorstop. ``It's the quantity that scared me to hell. I thought
>>>I'd see it gradually come about. One year a couple, and the next
>>>year a few more. But it was all the babies around.''
>>>Danielle Guay, Mr. Greffe's friend, also spent many hours picking
>>>up frogs, documenting their missing and shortened legs. She lives
>>>in a neighbouring town, where she drives a school bus. She takes
>>>me on a walk down the lane that runs between Mr. Greffe's property
>>>and a very weedy pond that receives agricultural runoff from the
>>>She has made a net to catch the frogs and captures eight frogs and
>>>two toads. One frog is missing part of a foot and two have only a
>>>stump at their hip. Gently, expertly, she extends their legs,
>>>notes their deformities and, murmuring to them, puts them back in
>>>the grass. ``If the frogs are sick, the fish are also sick,'' she
>>>says, and more comfortable in French, she adds ``Grenouilles
>>>malades, hommes malades (frogs sick, humans sick).''
>>>In Mr. Greffe's own back yard, beside his cattail swamp, two young
>>>frogs are disfigured, three older frogs are normal.
>>>A few days later, Dr. Martin Ouellet, a veterinarian and
>>>specialist in frog deformities, visited Mr. Greffe. The
>>>environment department had contacted him because he has spent the
>>>past seven years looking for the cause of frog deformities.
>>>``If it had been my goal to collect 1,000 frogs that day,'' he
>>>recalls, ``I would have been able.'' The lawn earned his
>>>description of ``hot spot.''
>>>``Every time you're catching two frogs, one is deformed,'' he
>>>says. ``It's huge.'' He anesthetized and killed several frogs for
>>>this winter's work: autopsies and analysis of genetic
>>>abnormalities on the frogs he has collected all over southern
>>>They will form part of his database of nearly 30,000 amphibians,
>>>mostly frogs, but also some toads and salamanders. Among the 16
>>>species he has studied, he has found 25 types of deformities --
>>>frogs with three legs, with 23 extra toes, with an eye placed on a
>>>shoulder or a back, with missing fingers and toes, legs or parts
>>>The deformed frogs virtually all die, either from predators or
>>>disease. ``They're handicapped. They have a hard time moving and
>>>when they fall, they have abrasions from gravel. The bacteria
>>>enter and they usually die from septicemia.'' This blood poisoning
>>>is a painful death, a total-body infection that causes them to
>>>swell up. ``Of course, they're probably not comfortable,'' says
>>>Dr. Ouellet, who wants to avoid anthropomorphizing. ``But they
>>>fall. They have nerves and muscles. If you do that to a frog,'' --
>>>he pinches his skin -- ``they feel it. They have the same nerves
>>>that we have.''
>>>Martin Leveille, a biologist with the environment ministry,
>>>accompanied Dr. Ouellet to see the frogs around Mr. Greffe's
>>>property. He described the sight as ``bizarre'' with hundreds of
>>>tiny frogs with uneven legs, making erratic jumps.
>>>``These animals are still very vigorous and jump very well,'' he
>>>said. ``They don't seem to have much problem feeding.'' If a toxic
>>>substance caused the deformities and the frogs survive for two
>>>months after metamorphosis, their chances ``seem quite good.'' He
>>>says that it would be upsetting if the deformities were the result
>>>of human activity, but noted that causes can also be natural.
>>>``That's why we have to be prudent,'' he said. ``Next year there
>>>will be budgets and priorities and money for water tests.''
>>>The third person to visit the site, two weeks later, was Real
>>>Normandeau, provincial agricultural technician. He spoke with Mr.
>>>Greffe and Ms. Guay. He looked at the frogs with Dr. Ouellet.
>>>However, Mr. Normandeau did not take any water samples of the pond
>>>nearby where the frogs hatched, nor well-water samples from the
>>>nearby homes, nor a sample of water coming out of the large
>>>drainage pipe from the adjacent farm field. The pipe carries
>>>runoff from the farm fields, complete with fertilizers,
>>>herbicides, insecticides and fungicides that farmers have sprayed
>>>on their crops. He did not talk with the farmers nearby to see
>>>which pesticides they have used this season.
>>>``We are not sure if we can have the laboratory do samples and
>>>we're not sure if we have enough pesticide to produce good
>>>results,'' he said, noting that pesticides disintegrate. He added:
>>>``We're not sure pesticides are the cause of the deformities.''
>>>He preferred, he said, to make a research proposal for next spring
>>>and summer rather than ask the provincial government to analyze a
>>>variety of water samples from that site in July. ``What,'' he
>>>asked, ``should we tell the lab to look for?''
>>>Mr. Leveille said he did not know what farmers typically spray on
>>>their corn and soybean crops but said that Mr. Normandeau would
>>>know. Mr. Normandeau said he didn't. He said, though, he will find
>>>out. ``I will go back,'' he told the Citizen on Sept. 18., ``in
>>>In contrast, when Minnesota school children discovered deformed
>>>frogs during a school trip in 1995, it became an international
>>>story and set off a national and state emergency. Scientists
>>>tested pond and residential well water for pesticides, heavy
>>>metals, salt, pH levels -- any agents that could cause genetic
>>>abnormalities. They're still testing. In May, U.S. Secretary of
>>>the Interior Bruce Babbitt convened a cabinet-level briefing on
>>>plummeting frog populations in the U.S., which led to the creation
>>>of the Task Force on Amphibian Declines and Deformities to
>>>co-ordinate federal research. (Its Canadian counterpart is the
>>>Task Force on Declining Amphibian Populations in Canada.)
>>>This week, Mr. Babbitt announced a new coalition of government,
>>>environmental groups and children, and a new web site --
>>>www.frogweb.gov -- to find out what is killing and deforming frogs
>>>in the U.S. ``When we consider that these creatures are hardy
>>>enough to have been on Earth for 350 million years,'' he said,
>>>``it is shocking to think that there could be a world without
>>>This difference in response to his own situation strikes Mr.
>>>Greffe: ``No one cares about the frogs.'' He includes farmers,
>>>neighbours and the provincial department in charge of this sort of
>>>environmental emergency. Anyway, he says, government departments
>>>work at cross purposes.
>>>Several years ago, the provincial government gave the neighbouring
>>>farmer permission to install a pump for his drainage system.
>>>Runoff now goes directly into the pond at the end of his corn
>>>field instead of draining into the ditch that runs the length of
>>>the huge field. The cattails in the ditch used to purify the water
>>>before it left the farm. ``Everybody knows that aquatic vegetation
>>>cleans out polluted water,'' says Mr. Greffe. Runoff is choking
>>>out the wildlife with weed growth.
>>>Both Mr. Greffe and Dr. Ouellet say that governments are reluctant
>>>to investigate farm chemicals and practices because it is big
>>>business, and because, in rural Quebec, the farm union is very
>>>There were fewer frogs already, says Mr. Greffe, without the
>>>possibility of pesticide poisoning. In 1992, just as Dr. Ouellet
>>>began documenting deformities, the provincial government invented
>>>a new permit to provide a legal frog hunt. ``You see how dumb
>>>things are: The year they put out a permit, there's less and less
>>>land and fewer marshes for the frog and now they have a permit
>>>that says you can take any quantity you want.''
>>>He says that, four years ago, bullfrogs had started to make a
>>>comeback in his area. ``We were there at night and there were
>>>bullfrogs singing. It's so beautiful.
>>>``One night, someone came by truck to catch the bullfrogs and you
>>>couldn't hear one the night after. The men were there all night. I
>>>put a note in their truck window. They never came back because
>>>they'd just cleaned the whole place out.'' Even this summer, there
>>>are only a few bullfrog voices.
>>>The collectors supply restaurants with frogs, where only their
>>>legs are used, cut off at the hip and ankle. The other market is
>>>school and research laboratories. Frog hunters shine a light on
>>>the frogs -- deer hunters call this jacking -- which freezes them,
>>>or they wave a red flag with a hook on it, or they hit them with a
>>>Under provincial regulations, the hunting season in southern
>>>Quebec for bullfrogs, green frogs and leopard frogs is July 15 to
>>>Nov. 15. Hunting methods approved for use: nets, fish hooks, a
>>>blunt instrument for stunning, pits, barriers, darts and capture
>>>Mr. Greffe explains the pit-barrier method. Frog collectors
>>>stretch a burlap fence along a pond, and at each end they dig deep
>>>holes. When the frogs come out of the mud after their winter
>>>hibernation and try to get to the water to breed, they have to hop
>>>sideways along the barricade. When they reach the end of the
>>>barricade, they fall into the holes.
>>>If the frog population dives -- and Mr. Greffe says there are
>>>fewer frogs now than even five years ago -- the mosquitoes will
>>>lose their primary predators and this will create a problem in
>>>this cottage country. ``Then we'll start spraying products that
>>>kill mosquitoes. That's how humans work. They don't look for the
>>>cause. They'll attack the results of what they did themselves.''
>>>Mr. Greffe says he'll protect the frogs as best he can. ``The
>>>animals have no choice. Even these frogs that are sick are
>>>beautiful in a certain way.''
>>>ILLUSTRATION: Black & White Photo: Donna Jacobs, The Ottawa Citizen
>>>/ Martin Ouellet ; Black & White Photo: Donna Jacobs,
>>>The Ottawa Citizen / Danielle Guay; Black & White
>>>Photo: Martin Ouellet, The Ottawa Citizen / Scientist
>>>Martin Ouellet gathered these deformed leopard frogs
>>>this summer from Raymond Greffe's yard and
>>>neighbourhood, beside a cornfield near the St.
>>>Lawrence River.; Black & White Photo: Donna Jacobs,
>>>The Ottawa Citizen / When Raymond Greffe, and his
>>>friend Danielle Guay, found deformed frogs all over
>>>the lawn, biologist and veterinarian Martin Ouellet
>>>came to investigate. ``If it had been my goal to
>>>collect 1,000 (deformed) frogs that day,'' Dr. Ouellet
>>>says, ``I would have been able.''
>>>ICQ world wide pager address: http://wwp.mirabilis.com/19291601
>>>Sierra Club of/du Canada
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>>>Earth Island Institute - http://www.earthisland.org
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>>>Campaign Nuclear Phaseout - http://www.cnp.ca
>>>Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly - http://www.monitor.net/rachel
>>>Ultimate Activist Web Directory - http://www.tao.ca
>>>Pesticide Action Network - http://www.igc.apc.org/panna
>>>Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility - http://www.ccnr.ca
>>>International Forum on Globalization - www.ifg.org.mai.html
>>>The New Internationalist Magazine - www.newint.org
>>>Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - www.policyalternatives.ca
>>>Public Citizen - http://www.citizen.org/
>>>Multinational Monitor - www.essential.org/monitor
>>>National Centre for Sustainabilbity - www.islandnet.com/~ncfs
>>>Preamble Centre for Public Policy - www.rtk.net/preamble/MAI
>>>Earth First Journal - http://host.envirolink.org/ef
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