Prison Inmates Raise Endangered Frogs

Tuesday, July 07, 2009
(photo: Northwest Trek)

If the spotted frog manages to make a come back in Oregon, the species will have two state convicts to thank in part for the success story.

Prisoners Harry Greer and Albert Delp, both serving time at the minimum-security Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Littlerock, Washington, spend their days helping raise dozens of frogs for a project run by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. It turns out both men are quite good at mothering tadpoles into fully grown frogs that eventually are released into the wild to repopulate the species in the Puget Sound area. Since the project began, only eight frogs cared for by Greer and Delp have died—which is better than what officials have done at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the Oregon Zoo in Portland and the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.
“They have the time to address care on a level that is not possible with those other institutions,” Marc P. Hayes, the senior research scientist leading the project, told The Seattle Times. “They baby those things literally night and day.”
Greer was convicted of armed robbery while pimping for a prostitute. Delp is serving time for felony drunken driving.
Cedar Creek prison has been involved in other environmentally focused programs, including those fighting forest fires and growing organic vegetables. The frog raising project only pays inmates 85 cents an hour, but Greer said that’s better than removing asbestos at $5 per hour.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
State of Washington, Respondent v. Harry Greer, III, Appellant (Court of Appeals Division I, State of Washington)


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