Aquarium receives tadpoles as part of critical effort to save endangered SoCal frogs after fires

Photo credit: Aquarium of the Pacific

Government and state wildlife agencies rescued the last remaining mountain yellow-legged frogs from local mountains after wildfires scorched their habitat last fall. The agencies then worked to find local institutions to take in the critically endangered frogs and tadpoles as part of a survival plan for the species. The Aquarium of the Pacific has built a lab and special home to house some of these amphibians as part of the conservation effort to increase their numbers in the wild. The first of these animals to arrive at the Aquarium of the Pacific are tadpoles, which will be raised with the goal of eventual release into the wild. 

“We built this facility at our Aquarium specifically for these mountain yellow-legged frogs to do our part to help their populations recover,” said Brett Long, Aquarium of the Pacific curator. The frogs’ ideal habitat is in cool streams at about 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is one of the specifications of the Aquarium’s behind-the-scenes home for these amphibians to ensure the best care possible. 

Partners on this project include the Aquarium of the Pacific, United States Geological Survey, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Los Angeles Zoo, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Santa Ana Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, the Wildlands Conservancy, and University of California, Los Angeles.

Mountain yellow-legged frogs are native to California’s mountainous regions and depend on habitats in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains. Threats to their survival include extreme weather conditions that lead to wildfires and drought and the chytrid fungus that can cause life-threatening disease for amphibians. “Supporting this conservation effort, respecting signs announcing areas off limits to the public when visiting these local mountains, and reducing your carbon footprint are all things anyone who is interested in helping can do,” Long said.

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

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