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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Health and safety regulations to be followed by schools as they reopen Monday

Ministry of Education wrote a letter to parents dated May 28.

B.C. Court of Appeal upholds lower court decision on western boundary of Treaty 8

Several first nations believe the western boundary was and always has been at the Rocky Mountains

School will look a lot different, says Fort St. James Secondary School principal

The principal wrote a letter to parents informing them about what to expect at school on June 1.

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read