The much-storied annual Calaveras County Frog-Jumping Contest, inspired by Mark Twain's humorous short story, received good news yesterday when a careful review of the California Fish and Game Code revealed that "frogs to be used in frog-jumping contests" are exempted from general wildlife rules. The problem facing the contest was that most of the frogs used in the contest today are in fact eastern bullfrogs, as opposed to the native red-legged frog immortalized in Twain's story. The additional quandary was posed by the fact that it is illegal in the state of California to return a nonnative species (such as the eastern bullfrog) to the wild, and violators can face a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Local businesspeople were also concerned because the frog-jumping jubilee attracts some 40,000 tourists to the area east on San Francisco, and the loss of revenue would be potentially quite severe. After this recent discovery, it appears that the contest will go on as planned this May.
The first link leads to a story from the Los Angeles Times about the recent discovery that will allow the frog-jumping contest to proceed as planned this May. The second link will take visitors to the complete text of Mark Twain's story about the "celebrated jumping frog." The third link leads to Mark Twain's own personal recollection about the genesis and broad history of the now-famous story. The fourth link takes visitors to a news article from last year detailing protests by animal-rights groups about the way the frogs are treated at the contest. The fifth link leads to the official homepage of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, where visitors will find information about visiting the fair and about how to register for the contest. The final link takes visitors to a site where they can learn how to make a jumping frog with origami, in lieu of the real thing.