The Edmonton Valley Zoo is participating in a program that will hopefully save northern leopard frogs from extinction.
Right now, there is only a single native population of the frogs located in the Creston Valley of southeastern British Columbia. Two additional populations have been introduced into the area as part of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team’s program.
The zoo received 22 of the highly endangered frogs and is hoping to establish a permanent conservation breeding program in Edmonton.
The five-month-old frogs came from the Calgary Zoo and are currently in quarantine. Next year they will be moved into a public enclosure. Once the frogs start breeding, their offspring will be relocated to the Columbia Marshes in the Creston Valley.
“Our zoo team has proven expertise in caring for several endangered frog species, so we felt we could make a substantial contribution to this important conservation project,” Lindsey Galloway, director of the Edmonton Valley Zoo said.
“Frogs play an important role in our ecosystems. One third of the world’s amphibian species are at risk of extinction and by playing a role in this program, we can help one species recover.”
The population of northern leopard frogs declined sharply in the 1970s and are now listed federally as an endangered species in B.C.
In addition to the Valley Zoo, the Calgary Zoo, the Vancouver Aquarium, local biologists, Indigenous groups and representatives from the Government of British Columbia are all part of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team.
According to the Valley Zoo, frogs are “important indicators” of wetland health. Frog species are very adaptable, so the zoo says when populations decline, it is a sign something is wrong in the ecosystem and other living things in the habitat may be in danger.