20K Boreal Toads Will Be Released in Colorado this Summer
In November of 2021, 95 boreal toads were transported from the Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility in Alamosa, Colorado to the Denver Zoo. This group of toads is now being used to breed more of the species, which will ultimately help to restore their entire population in Colorado. Because of these efforts, as many as 20,000 tadpoles are expected to be released into the Colorado wilderness this summer.
Boreal toads are currently listed as an endangered species in Colorado and New Mexico, which is why this plan is so important. Wildlife officials have observed a dramatic decline in the population of these amphibians within the Centennial State over the last two years. CPW believes this is mainly due to habitat loss and infection.
The Denver Zoo is collaborating with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on this species survival project. The team expects it will take several years before the boreal toad population is back to a secure level in the southern Rocky Mountains but is working hard to get it there. Once the toadlets are released into the wild, volunteers will continue to monitor their survival. Other release sites will also be identified throughout the state.
The Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility, where the 95 toads came from, is operated by CPW. There are only a few facilities of its kind in North America.
This is not the first time the Denver Zoo has helped with toad conservation. In 2019, the zoo used a hormone treatment to breed and produce more than 600 boreal toads, which were eventually released in southwestern Utah. In 2018, the Denver Zoo successfully bred critically endangered Lake Titicaca frogs, becoming the first zoo to do so in the Northern Hemisphere.