SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rican frog about the size of a peanut received federal protection Wednesday, ending a long battle to list it as an endangered species.
The habitat of the coqui llanero, which is the island's smallest tree frog, also received federal protection, covering 615 acres (249 hectares) of freshwater wetland in northern Puerto Rico.
The nonprofit, Florida-based Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2010 so it would respond to a 2007 petition seeking to have the frog classified as an endangered species.
The new designation means that it is now illegal to kill, harm or capture the frog.
The coqui llanero was discovered in 2005, and its eggs have only been found on the bulltongue arrowhead plant. It has such a high-pitched frequency call that it can barely be heard.
Scientists have struggled to provide a rough estimate for the number of coqui llaneros, saying there are anywhere from nearly 300 to 700 of them.
Puerto Rico had already listed the frog as critically endangered and designated more than 1,500 acres (600 hectares) as its critical habitat.