Born in a Los Angeles zoo, released into the San Gabriels, a rare frog bounces back (The LA Times)
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS, CA — Last week, biologists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) and partnering agencies released hundreds of endangered, mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles back to their historic habitat in southern California.
Disease, habitat loss, and invasive predators have driven mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa) to the brink across their range from the southern Sierra Nevada to southern California. In an effort to boost their numbers, the Los Angeles Zoo established a captive-breeding program to rear tadpoles in a safe environment before releasing them into the wild. A new generation of captive-reared tadpoles made their way to their final destination this week, when representatives from the Zoo, WERC, and cooperators tucked them neatly into temperature-controlled backpacks and trekked into the San Gabriel Mountains. There, the tadpoles should thrive in streams and ponds protected from non-native predators like trout and crayfish.
For more information on WERC’s mountain yellow-legged frog research, check out the project webpage.
Amphibian populations have declined in many areas around the world. Initially, there was skepticism as to whether the observed declines were merely minor population fluctuations, but it has become increasingly clear that many declines are both real and sustained. At the request of the U.S. Department of the Interior, USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) scientists are supporting the...