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Boreal Toad Conservation

The Aquarium is helping support Boreal toad populations in Utah

For the first time, the Aquarium has released animals into the wild as a part of a recovery effort.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Boreal toads are a Utah-native species that is of concern in Utah due to its limited range and susceptibility to the Chytrid Fungus, which has been implicated in several population die-offs.  Amphibians absorb water through their skin. The Chytrid Fungus causes a thickening or hardening of their skin, making them unable to regulate their body’s water levels. This fungus is found in most water ways and has globally.

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium works with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Warmwater Fish Hatchery, Wild Utah Project, Wahweap Fish Hatchery, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Denver Zoo, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo to perform regular surveys of Boreal toad populations throughout the state of Utah.  

Based on partnership protocols, the Aquarium is working to retain a reserve population in case of extirpation (local extinction) of the species. It has been observed that captive-bred toads have shown slight resistance to the fungus, which gives the DWR hope that toads like ours will help support the wild populations. You can see Boreal toads in our Discover Utah hall, as well as other endangered Utah-native species.

In 2020, the Aquarium began our first attempt to induce amplexus (breeding) by replicating natural brumation parameters for some of our toads.  That first attempt produced no offspring. However, our second attempt in 2021 produced over 20 tadpoles that hatched in April!

By late May this year, we had seven healthy toadlets that were moved from water to land as they completed their metamorphosis.

On July 8, 2021, our team made a trip down to the Paunsaugunt Plateau, located near Bryce Canyon in Utah, and met with a guide from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Our seven healthy toads were released into the wild in the hopes that they will support the species population in that area.

If you are interested in participating in Boreal toad surveys, please visit the Wild Utah Project website, or visit the conservation page at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. 

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