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Los Angeles Zoo Hatches More Than 2,000 Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs

May 25, 2018



The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens announced on its website May 24 that it has successfully hatched more than 2,000 southern mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa), an endangered species.

Posted by Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Thursday, May 24, 2018

The frog, once abundant in high altitude streams and lakes of Southern California, has suffered declines due to the chytrid fungus, decades of high-altitude planting of non-native trout in lakes, as well as livestock grazing and pesticide drift.  

mountain yellow-legged frog

 Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock

One estimate put the number of mountain yellow-legged frogs in the wild at less than 100.
 

The wild populations of the amphibians once numbered as little as 100, according to some estimates, and was listed as an endangered species in Southern California by the USFWS in April 2014 .

Posted by Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Thursday, May 24, 2018

“When we learned there was a species of amphibian in our own back yard that was in danger of becoming extinct, we joined forces with several local and federal organizations to create an insurance colony that could be reproduced and whose offspring could one day be returned to the wild,” Ian Recchio, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Los Angeles Zoo said on the zoo’s Facebook page. “Based on our past experiences with sensitive amphibian species, we were confident we could raise their numbers. This endangered species of frog is only found in Southern California, so we felt a responsibility to help before it’s too late.” 

2,000+ Endangered Frogs Hatch at L.A. Zoo

We're proud to announce that over 2,000 endangered Southern mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles have recently hatched at the L.A. Zoo. This species is native to the San Gabriel Mountains, and the tadpoles are the offspring of two groups of adult frogs we took into our care in 2014 when we were tasked to create an insurance colony for this species on the brink of extinction. “When we learned there was a species of amphibian in our own back yard that was in danger of becoming extinct, we joined forces with several local and federal organizations to create an insurance colony that could be reproduced and whose offspring could one day be returned to the wild,” said Ian Recchio, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Los Angeles Zoo. “Based on our past experiences with sensitive amphibian species, we were confident we could raise their numbers. This endangered species of frog is only found in Southern California, so we felt a responsibility to help before it’s too late.” The Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog Recovery Program is a collaborative endeavor between the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Posted by Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Thursday, May 24, 2018

The frogs are not on exhibit, and many will eventually be released back into the wild.  The breeding effort is part of a recovery plan for the species that involves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The plan, launched in October 2014 is expected to conclude in December 2018 with the release of the offspring from the initial batch of frogs that were part of the plan four years ago. 


USFWS to Develop Recovery Plan for Mountain Yellow-legged Frog

Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog Recovery Effort Experiences Challenges


The mountain yellow-legged frog is around three inches in length and lives in high elevation lakes, ponds, streams, and pools of water in California. It hibernates in the winter months. The frog lays eggs in the spring and the tadpoles arrive approximately two months later and remain as tadpoles throughout the summer, winter, and following spring. They then start to metamorphose into frogs the following summer and fall. As adults, they can live 10-15 years.

 

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