Listening for the Coqui’s ko-KEE Call

To quiet the coqui population that has leapt out of control in recent years, the state turned to the public for help; or rather, the public’s ears to listen for those distinctive “ko-KEE” calls. The “Go Out and Listen Night!” on Wednesday resulted in at least 12 reports of coqui frogs across Oahu. My family phoned into the hotline as well, after hearing a quick “ko-KEE” sound near our home on Round Top.

That’s the first time we heard a coqui; ironically, we weren’t even aware of the island-wide exercise until the day after we made the report. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, about 133 Oahu residents took part in the event, which required residents to go outdoors between 7:30 and 8 p.m. and to listen for the invasive frogs. There were five reports in urban Honolulu, one each from East Honolulu and Windward Oahu, two from Central Oahu and three from Leeward.

Some people don’t mind the sound and think it’s rather peaceful; others, however, can’t wait till something is done about the aural annoyance. These include tourists, who prefer renting accommodations in a quieter setting. Despite their sound, coqui frogs have infested about 60,000 acres on the Big Island and are a threat to native species.

If you hear or see a coqui frog while you are staying in the islands, please file a report at the website or call the hotline number 643-PEST (643-7378).