Aquariums of the Pacific have welcomed tadpoles — which will develop into endangered yellow-footed frogs — that were rescued from mountains scorched by local wildfires, Long Beach Aquarium officials announced this week.
Yellow-footed frogs are critically endangered. Last year fires in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains — where amphibians are a native species — made matters worse.
So federal and state wildlife agencies asked local institutions to pick up the rescued tadpoles.
Not only did the Aquarium of the Pacific oblige, but it also created a laboratory to house the amphibians as part of a conservation effort to increase their numbers in the wild. The tadpoles would be raised there and eventually released into the wild.
“We built this feature in our aquarium specifically for these mountain yellow-footed frogs to help them recover their populations,” the aquarium’s curator, Brett Long, said in a statement.
The frogs make their home in cool streams at around 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is one of the laboratory’s specialties of aquariums, so these amphibians can be cared for in the best possible way.
The United States Geological Survey, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Coalition, the Santa Ana Zoo and UCLA were among other institutions that participated in the tadpole.
Extreme weather conditions that lead to wildfires and drought have put yellow-footed frogs at risk. The chytrid fungus, which causes deadly disease in amphibians worldwide, has also caused damage to species numbers.
“While supporting this conservation effort, visiting these local mountains, respecting the signs that declare off-limits areas to the public, and reducing their carbon footprint,” Long said, “are all the things that Interested in helping.”