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!