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 1:24 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.

 

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

Just Posted

Double loss sends Riders back to drawing board

Despite putting up a good fight against both Revelstoke and Creston, the… Continue reading

Gay minister challenges preconceptions

Andrea Brennan serves Fernie at pivotal time in church’s history

Documentary reveals Fernie’s role in WWI internment operations

That Never Happened to screen on 100th anniversary of Morrissey internment camp closure

Environmental monitoring meeting in Elkford tonight

Meeting to focus on environmental monitoring programs at Teck coal mines in the Elk Valley

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Meet the City of Fernie candidates

Voters in Fernie will vote for one Mayor, six Councillors and one School Board Trustee on October 20

Meet the District of Sparwood candidates

Voters in Sparwood will vote for one Mayor and six Councillors on October 20

Meet the District of Elkford candidates

The Elkford Chamber of Commerce will host an All Candidates Forum on October 4

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

Dog deaths in Lower Mainland may be tied to suspected mushroom poisoning: RCMP

Police have received reports in the last month about several dogs becoming ill after visiting a park in North Vancouver

Record-breaking $113 million Lotto Max jackpot up for grabs

This is Canada’s highest top prize offering ever and includes 53 Max Millions

Candidates reminded to steer clear of the polls, except to vote

Elk Valley election candidates have been reminded they must steer clear of… Continue reading

Most Read