Good news for The Mountain Yellow-legged Frog

I’ve been reading some pretty gloomy stories lately about the worldwide amphibian decline, but I’ve also read a surprising number of hopeful stories as well.  Here’s one Susan passed along to me:

A population of a rare, almost extinct western frog, the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana mucosa) has been found in the San Jacinto Wildnerness in Southern California. Until last month researchers had estimated only 122 adult Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs remained in the wild. This species was once widespread, but declined over the years when non-native trout were added to recreational fishing waters, disturbing local ecosystems. Tadpoles often become prey to non-native fish such as trout. 

Biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the San Diego Natural History Museum made the discovery. Reading this article from the Environmental News Service, I realize how many zoos, state, local, and federal government agencies need to be involved and motivated to save an endangered species.  The San Diego Zoo, for example, has a program is to breed mountain yellow-legged frogs in captivity and return them to their native habitat. 

Kudos to all biologists, museums and zoos, and government agencies involved in this effort!

Courtesy of U.S. Geological Servey
Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey
To learn more about this, I recommend watching the PBS Nature special The Thin Green Line. (You can watch it online.)  This absorbing documentary is about all aspects of the amphibian decline, but includes a segment on the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog in Yosemite.  Check out The Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog site as well.