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San Antonio Zoo Release Critically Endangered Toads

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 31, 2021 11:00 am

Puerto Rican Crested Toad San Antonio Zoo

File photo of an adult, critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

The San Antonio Zoo have celebrated a massive win in the conservation of the Puerto Rican crested toad with 5,000 tadpoles return to the wild. The tadpoles were bred in captivity as part of efforts to save the species.

Previously thought to be extinct the Puerto Rican crested toad is known from only one population in the Guanica National Forest of southern Puerto Rico with just 1,000 to 3,000 individuals.

"Saving Puerto Rican Crested Toads is one of almost 20 research and conservation programs San Antonio Zoo has partnered with to create a global community that loves, engages with, acts for, and protects animals and the places where they live," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "We're honored to be a part of this initiative. It's a great testament to this community's dedication to wildlife protection as well as the depth of our abilities."

Puerto Rican Crested Toad San Antonio Zoo

A group of Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles before their release to the wild

Photo Credit: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo began their efforts to save the Puerto Rican crested toad in 2010 as part of The Puerto Rican Crested Toad Conservancy (PRCTC) with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

The PRCTC work on Puerto Rico to conduct island-wide education outreach, protection, and restoration of existing habitats, new ponds to support six self-sustaining metapopulations.

Their latest successes have come from releasing tadpoles bred by the group with assistance from San Antonio Zoo. Since 2010 16,308 tadpoles have been returned to the wild.

Unfortunately threats to the species such as habitat loss and introduced species continue to threaten them.

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 "We are so proud to be part of the successful recovery of the critically endangered Puerto Rican Crested Toad," said Alan Kardon, Vice President, Animal Care & Horticulture for San Antonio Zoo. "The Puerto Rican Crested Toad is a particularly intriguing species and one that has been challenging to track in the wild due to their nocturnal nature and limited numbers. Their most notable feature is a long, upturned snout with a crest above the eyes."

In 2021 the San Antonio Zoo the ZAA awarded San Antonio Zoo's aquarium team with the prestigious Zoological Association of America's Ex Situ Conservation award for their work with five endangered, critically endangered, and extinct in the wild species of Mexican freshwater fish: the Minckley's Cichlid (Endangered), Tequila Splitfin (Endangered), San Marcos Redtail Splitfin (Critically Endangered), La Palma Pupfish (Extinct in the Wild), and Charco Palma Pupfish (Extinct in the Wild).

Learn more about Amphibians here – Amphibian Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the San Antonio Zoo on their website – San Antonio Zoo

Puerto Rican Crested Toad San Antonio Zoo

A group of conservationists prepare the Puerto Rican crested toads for return to the wild

Photo Credit: San Antonio Zoo

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