Santa Ana-raised wild frogs are "on their feet."
About 170 fragile southern mountain yellow-legged frogs that teeter on the brink of extinction have been released into the mountains of Southern California.
Most of these amphibians began their lives at the Los Angeles Zoo. They then traveled to the Aquarium of the Pacific and Santa Ana Zoo where they matured. As the frogs became quite independent, they were released into habitats close to their own.
"Release" of the tailless marks a key moment in a comprehensive program to conserve this unique species. Southern yellow-legged mountain frogs are native to the mountainous regions of California. Specifically the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains. These medium-sized specimens, ranging from 1.5 to 3.25 inches, display an amazing variety of colors. They often combine brown and yellow hues with dark flecks. Their spots are very reminiscent of lichen or moss, providing these amphibians with excellent camouflage.
The Endangered Frog Conservation Program began in 2007 with the establishment of a breeding colony at the Los Angeles Zoo. It has resulted in the release of nearly 6,000 amphibians into the wild. The goal of the program is to establish at least 20 stable frog populations in the wild with a minimum of 50 frogs each.
"They were once among the most common amphibians in our mountains. And we hope that one day these frogs will once again thrive in their natural habitat," said Amber Suto, education specialist and participant in the Santa Ana Zoo's restoration program.
Also, the "release" of frogs is important because it involves animals from a genetically underrepresented population. Scientists are working tirelessly to protect this fragile species and its habitat. And such their actions potentially increase the yellow-legged creatures' chances of survival.
Southern mountain yellow-legged frogs raised in Santa Ana are an important part of California's natural heritage. Socium.Network team believes that by supporting such initiatives, we can contribute to the conservation of our planet's biodiversity.