On June 28, teams with the Denver Zoo and Colorado Parks & Wildlife released 570 boreal tadpoles into wetlands in a remote site in the Gunnison National Forest. The goal of the effort is to restore the state’s populations of boreal toads.
The boreal toad is a state-listed endangered species. It has experienced dramatic population decline in the past two decades, which “appears to be related to habitat loss and primarily infection by the chytrid fungus, which can infect the majority of the world’s 7,000 amphibian species,” states a news release.
Last November, conservation and amphibian experts with the Denver Zoo traveled to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility (NASRF) in Alamosa to pick up 95 adult boreal toads to serve as an additional breeding population for the species.
These toads were prepped for breeding at the Denver Zoo, and staff nurtured the offspring to get them ready for release into the wild.
“This was the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and planning by our partners at Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and members of our animal care and field conservation teams,” said Erica Elvove, Senior Vice President for Conservation Engagement and Impact at Denver Zoo. “Boreal toads face an extremely uncertain future in Colorado and have a good chance of going extinct without human intervention. We’re committed to continuing this effort with CPW for many years to come, and doing our part to make sure the species remains part of Colorado’s ecosystem for future generations.”
The collaboration is expected to be a multi-year program, as officials with the zoo and Colorado Parks & Wildlife estimate it will take many years to bring the boreal toad back to a level where it is secure in the southern Rocky Mountains, states the news release.
To learn more, visit DenverZoo.org/Boreal-Toad-Conservation-Team.
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