Today’s Solutions: October 16, 2021

The Puerto Rican crested toad is the only toad native to Puerto Rico and, in recent years, the endangered species’ population numbers have been decreasing. Currently, there are only an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 amphibians left in the wild in the Guanica State Forest in the southwest part of the island. That may soon change, however, thanks to the Nashville Zoo, which has recently sent a care package to the Caribbean island containing 5,000 crested toad tadpoles.

The Nashville Zoo is among a handful of zoos participating in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), a program that launched in 1984 with the aim to help the survival of threatened or endangered species in captivity. Since its inception, the 20 North American zoos now taking part in the program have bred 263,575 tadpoles to be released into protected ponds in the Guanica National Forest

The Nashville Zoo has been working with the Puerto Rican crested toads since 2008 and was first successful at breeding them in 2012. So far, the zoo has shipped more than 21,000 tadpoles to the island for release.

“All the participating AZA institutions that are selected for a certain release follow a specific protocol for cooling and placing the toads in the rain chamber to stimulate breeding,” Sherri Riensch, lead herpetology keeper at Nashville Zoo, tells Treehugger. “This allows for all of the tadpoles to be the same age and size upon release thus none of the different genetics will have a leg up on any of the others.”

The toad gets its name from its distinctive snout and bony head crest. Their color varies from yellowish-green to blackish-brown on the dorsal area, and creamy white on their underside. They are medium-sized, with adults reaching between 2.5 to 4.5 inches. Its skin has a pebbled texture.

For their 1,700-mile journey, the tadpoles are carefully packaged in large plastic bags that contain fresh water and are enriched with oxygen, explains Riensch. “The bags are placed in foam boxes inside cardboard boxes to insulate them from extreme temperatures and rough handling.” After their arrival, the tadpoles are released in their native habitat, where they are monitored by conservationists until they become adults and move on from the initial pond.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This therapeutic plant could help reduce morphine tolerance and opiate addiction

Opioid overdoses are on the rise in the US and around the world, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Addiction treatment, harm reduction, and improved health access are all effective strategies for addressing ... Read More

New treatment kills cancer cells in terminally ill patients

There are about 12,200 new head and neck cancer cases in the UK every year, and many of these patients are diagnosed at advanced stages when the disease is very difficult to treat. The standard ... Read More

6 Ways we can help our dogs live long and healthy lives

Research has shown that having a dog can help boost our physical and mental health as well as make us feel younger. Pets are an enormous source of joy and comfort, and as dog parents, ... Read More

Grauer’s gorilla population makes surprising comeback in DRC

A recent study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has good news for gorillas. The study found that the number of Grauer’s gorillas, the world’s largest gorilla subspecies, has increased from 6,800 compared to ... Read More

New Zealand opens unusual vaccination destination for the weekend

New Zealand is getting an unconventional Covid-19 vaccination clinic in the form of a Boeing 787 plane. The winged vaccination site is being operated by Air New Zealand this weekend as part of the government’s ... Read More