Detroit Zoo takes big leap to save endangered toad

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 12, 2018

The Detroit Zoological Society has released thousands of zoo-born toads into the wild. 

On June 6, exactly 11,226 Puerto Rico crested toad tadpoles left Detroit to swim free in the El Tallonal biological reserve in Puerto Rico. The move was part of a federal program to restore the critically endangered amphibian. 

Zoological Society staff spent more than 12 hours counting and placing tadpoles in fish bags filled with oxygen to keep them healthy. The tadpoles were then packaged into Styrofoam-protected shipping boxes. 

Zoo officials say the pond where the tadpoles will be released is in a well-protected forest, and the breeding program has shown success in boosting wild population.

“With nearly half of the world’s known 7,878 amphibian species threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, infectious diseases and other factors, bolstering the population of these toads in their natural environment is extremely gratifying and a real win for conservation,” said Dr. Ruth Marcec, director of the National Amphibian Conservation Center.