Wood frog tadpoles from the Morgan Arboretum in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec.   Photo: Marianna Armata www.passionatephotos.net

This year Wildlife Preservation Canada’s conservation breeding program in BC produced 20,514 Oregon spotted frog tadpoles. This number is more than all other years combined. On Monday, April 19th, 2021, about 19,514 tadpoles were released into restored frog habitat in Chaplin, BC. 

Pourya Sardari, WPC’s BC Wetlands Technician, releasing conservation bred Oregon spotted frog tadpoles to restored habitat.’

This is where protecting and restoring habitats and conservation breeding join hands to save Canada’s more endangered amphibian from disappearing from British Colombia’s wetlands. 

Two main approaches can be taken to conserve an endangered species – in situ and ex situ. In-situ conservation is when conservationists try to conserve or restore the natural habitats for the species. Ex-situ conservation is when conservation practitioners try to save a species outside of its natural habitat, such as conservation breeding programs.

These two approaches go hand to hand to save species from extinction. Sometimes, a species does not require an ex-situ program; however, both methods are necessary for Oregon spotted frog because of its critical status. 

From 2009 parts of Maria Slough in BC such as Chaplin were restored, hoping to re-make suitable habitats for OSF.  Since then, conservation practitioners have been trying to repopulate the habitat with this species of frog. Around the same time, conservation breeding programs produced tadpoles and frogs for release, trying to help boost the numbers of wild populations. 

Since 2009, approximately 10,000 frogs are known to be released at Maria Slough. However, it took many years for the field biologists to see egg masses in the habitat. This year six egg masses were found by field biologists at the restored site, meaning that 12 adult frogs are present and are breeding. This is truly great news for the recovery of this species.  

This year was a great year for this elusive frog. Besides having ongoing genetic and reproductive research, wild breeding was recorded at a restored habitat, and the captive breeding program produced more tadpoles than any other year. We hope this trend continues for the following years and we can save this species from extinction. 

Pourya Sardari

Field Technician – BC Wetlands

Pourya is conservation biologist interested in everything related to herpetofauna. He grew up in northeastern Iran, where he had the chance to see and work with some of natures’ fascinating reptiles and amphibians, for example, Central Asian cobras, Russian tortoises and various species of toads. Currently, he is WPC’s B.C. Wetlands Research and Conservation Technician where he works on Oregon spotted frog’s conservation breeding. 

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