Rare Frogs Released in California Mountains After the 2020 Bobcat
Categories: SCIENCE NEWS
RareFrogs Released in California Mountains After the 2020 Bobcat
Fi Over twoyears after they were removed from California's San Gabriel Mountainsdue to the Bobcat Fire, endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs have beenreleased into their native habitat. The Aquarium of the Pacific acquired atotal of 275 mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles last July, accordingto Erin Lundy, who helps care for the frogs at the aquarium.
The aquariumreceived two tadpole cohorts: one cohort of tadpoles bred at the Los AngelesZoo and half that were rescued during the fire that devastated their naturalhabitat. "Over the course of the last year, we have been slowly andsteadily raising them to be frogs,". The species can take up to fourto five years to mature from the nascent tadpole stage to the adult frog stage.
But theywanted to wait until the tadpoles matured before they released them -- theadults are "hardier" than the tadpoles, she said. On September15, a group of 188 frogs that had fully matured were released back into the SanGabriel Mountains. Half were from the rescued cohort and half from thecaptive-bred cohort.
The releaseis especially exciting given just how endangered the frogs are: there are lessthan 200 adults remaining in the wild. Amphibians like frogs play a key role inthe ecosystem, according to Lundy. "When you remove amphibians from ahabitat, you're actually losing all of these really interconnected parts ofthat food web, that can be pretty detrimental to how the ecosystemfunctions,".
Mountainyellow-footed frogs prey on insects including beetles, ants, and flies. Andthey have a unique survival strategy: When they sense danger, they can emita strong garlic-like odor as a defense mechanism.This species used to bevery populous in America.
But whenhumans introduced invasive predators like trout, which feed on tadpoles, theirnumbers plummeted. "Mountain yellow legged frogs didn't have too manynatural predators, which is why they were so populous and why they could taketheir time growing," she went on. "And they lived in very highaltitudes, and streams and waterways that didn't typically have fish."But the introduction of fish species for recreational fishing "decimateda lot of their population, in addition to infectious disease and other thingsthat have been introduced to these animals over time."