Environmentalists raise Tadpoles to help Save Puerto Rico Toads

NBC news reports that tadpoles originally raised in laboratories in Cleveland have been released into three sites around Puerto Rico to help build up the critically endangered amphibian in the wild.

The Puerto Rican crested toad is a very rare and endangered species. Scientists are now working to conserve the animals, and one of their most recent methods was to create a bunch of tadpoles that would hopefully live and increase in the wild, considering that they survive their infancy.

These tadpoles were raised in a laboratory at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, who has already been working on a Species Survival Plan programme that means to breed the animals in captivity and their eggs and progeny released back into the wild. This programme is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Lynn Koscielny of the Metroparks Zoo and the associate curator of the animals within the zoo says that the programme for the survival of the Puerto Rican crested toad species is definitely a success. For one thing, they are now receiving reports that field researchers and scientists in Puerto Rico have noticed that the toads that were part of transponders were quickly released into the wild. The animals are also returning to their original ponds to be able to reproduce.

The Puerto Rican crested toad is highly endangered and is the only native toad that lives on the island. It is deeply affected by habitat loss, but it is also having trouble with invasive species, which compete with them for food and territory. One of the greatest threats to the Puerto Rican crested toad is the alien invasive species called the cane toad.

The zoo is now deciding to go back sometime in the next one to five years. There are a lot of toads that have been released, totalling to about 4,500 individual tadpole in general. These animals will be sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, who will be directing them to the Caribbean Refuge in San Juan. This refuge is responsible for the three potential release sites that will maximize the effect. They have to be located near the southern coast of Puerto Rico, which also intersects with United States territory.

Raising tadpoles is quite difficult, because the zoo keepers would have to breed the toads under ideal natural conditions. This allows them to adapt to their native environment even if they are in captivity.

The scientists do this by cooling the animals down to 19 degrees Celsius. They are then placed inside a rain chamber tank, which supposedly mimics the rainy season back in Puerto Rico. They even made sure that the toads would be able to hear the mating calls while within the simulated surroundings.

The toads are really an important species to Puerto Rico and everyone deserves a chance to see these magnificent yet tiny animals. Conserving our endangered species are very difficult to handle in the long run, but someone has to do the job.

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