The tadpoles were transported by car; plane and kayak to their new home. (Mark Yuen/Vancouver Aquarium)

Endangered tadpoles travel via plane, car and kayak to their new home

Northern leopard tadpoles raised in the Vancouver Aquarium were released in the Kootenays last week

  • Jun. 13, 2018 12:24 p.m.

More than 1,600 endangered Northern leopard frog tadpoles were released into a natural habitat in the Kootenays on Wednesday, June 6.

This is the sixth consecutive breeding year for the Oceanwise conservation program that aims to boost the wild population of the Northern leopard frog – the most endangered amphibian in B.C.

“This year was a banner year for our Northern leopard frog conservation program and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Kris Rossing, senior biologist at Vancouver Aquarium. “We added two large frog ponds to the existing three and, as a result, saw improved breeding, more fertilized egg masses, and more tadpoles.”

Two large frog ponds were constructed at the aquarium this year, in addition to the three already use for the project which is an Ocean Wise initiative. (Oceanwise)

The Vancouver Aquarium has raised and released more than 7,100 Northern leopard frog tadpoles since 2013, in collaboration with the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team.

For the past six years, the frogs have been dedicated to re-establishing a population in a natural habitat near Brisco, B.C.

For the past two years, the recovery team has heard adult males calling at this release site; this is a positive indication that the frogs are surviving winter and reaching sexual maturity, and that the program is successful in helping the vulnerable Rocky Mountain population.

Early in the morning on June 6, the tadpoles were transported to the Kootenays, first by car to the Vancouver International airport, then by plane to Cranbrook, B.C.

Received by members of the recovery team, the tadpoles were then transported by car for an additional two hours, and then by kayak to their new home in the marshy wetlands along the Columbia River near the Alberta border.

The tadpoles were released by aquarium staff in collaboration with the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team. (Mark Yuen/Vancouver Aquarium)

The Vancouver Aquarium was the first aquarium to breed the amphibians as part of an assurance population and is part of a worldwide effort, along with other zoos and aquariums, to conserve this and other amphibian species under the Amphibian Ark (AArk) project.

A key component of the propagation process involves the use of a hormone treatment called Amphiplex created by Dr. Vance Trudeau at the University of Ottawa.

The treatment, which is a painless injection into the frogs, has been used to help induce spawning and spur the animals into amplexus — when the male mounts and holds the female frog to induce ovulation and then fertilizes the eggs as they are laid.

Beginning in the 1970s, populations of Northern leopard frogs across Western Canada declined by the millions, making them one of the most at-risk amphibian species, especially in B.C.

Research continues into the cause of these sharp declines.

The Rocky Mountain population that occurs in B.C. is listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and is on the provincial Red List.

Once found at many sites in the Kootenay and Okanagan regions, the Rocky Mountain population began to decrease to a point where only one wild population, in Creston Valley, existed.

An adult Northern leopard frog. (Vancouver Aquarium)

In 2004, a second population was reintroduced in the Upper Kootenay Floodplain, near Bummers Flats.

A third population was reintroduced in 2013 at a site in the Columbia Marshes with tadpoles produced at Vancouver Aquarium as part of the recovery effort for this species.

There are two other populations of Northern leopard frogs in Canada, the Prairie Northern leopard frogs have reoccupied some of their former range on the Prairies, and as a result have been down listed to be of special concern by the endangered wildlife committee.

Northern leopard frogs in Eastern Canada are not at risk.

The recovery team implements conservation actions as outlined in the Northern Leopard Frog recovery strategy.

 

Just Posted

Cost of living going up while wages are going down in Tofino and Ucluelet

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s Vital Signs Report shows need to diversify economy.

Extreme waves and king tides expected around Tofino and Ucluelet this weekend

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Ucluelet says goodbye to town’s only sports bar

“It started off big and we’re on the backside of the mountain now.”

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

Most Read