With only a few hundred in existence, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to release over 900 adult Wyoming toads onto land west of Laramie on Wednesday. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Coordinator Doug Keinath says there’s a lot riding on the release because of how rare this toad is.
“It’s extremely rare. It’s considered one of the most endangered amphibians in North America, if not the most endangered amphibian in North America. It only occurs within the Laramie Basin. So within 30 miles or so of Laramie is the entire global range of the Wyoming Toad.”
The Wyoming toad was listed as an endangered species in 1984 after it was all but wiped out by pesticides, the amphibian fungus chytrid and irrigation methods that disturbed their habitat. Keinath says lots of attempts have been made to recover the toad, but this one is unique.
“This will be the first time that we’ve ever done a large adult release,” he says. “Historically, we’ve released a lot of tadpoles and very young-of-the-year small toads with mixed success. And we feel like releasing more robust adult toads out into the environment, they’ll have a better chance of survival. This is the very first time we’ve given this a try.”
The 900 toads will be released in a chemical free area with plenty of water west of Laramie in hopes they’ll breed in the wild there.