Wyoming toad

Wyoming toad
Sara Armstrong / USFWS Mountain-Prairie

A private property owner has donated 41 acres of land to the city of Laramie where about 200 endangered Wyoming toads were recently released. The landowner originally agreed to a safe harbor agreement with the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, meaning the owner can release an endangered species on their land without worrying about accidentally killing some. 

A Wyoming toad about to be released
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

A wildlife refuge near Laramie is expanding by nearly 600 acres. The Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one home to reintroduction efforts of the endangered Wyoming toad, whose population crashed in the mid-1970s. The amphibians have since been brought back to the area where they are beginning to breed in the wild.

Volunteers carrying toads down to Mortenson Lake
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Endangered Species Act is threatened. Or at least facing significant reform. Momentum in Congress and in western states is building to make changes to the landmark regulation that protects threatened animal and plant species and their habitats. 

Melodie Edwards

  

On the shore next to the Buford Ranch pond in early June, clear plastic tubs sit in stacks with little ordinary-looking, brown speckled toads visible inside climbing the walls, trying to escape. And escape is exactly what a crowd of people—private landowners, environmental groups and federal and state agencies—have all gathered here today to help the toads do.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

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 Modern West 4: The Good, The Bad, And The Endangered

Sep 14, 2015
Jeannie Stafford / USFWS

  

Wyoming’s human population is low—and its animal population is high. But that doesn’t mean they don’t clash. This month: endangered species in The Modern West.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr

The endangered Wyoming Toad’s population numbers could get a boost from a new plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Wyoming Toad is the most endangered amphibian in North American, and lives only in Albany County.

The toad’s numbers started decreasing in the 1970s, for reasons mostly unknown. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a plan that would allow landowners in key habitat areas to either sell their land to the agency, or forfeit future development rights to their land in return for financial reimbursement and habitat monitoring.

Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming's top 131 most vulnerable species are identified in a new study put together by the Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Game and Fish and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. Senior Zoologist Doug Keinath with the Diversity Database says the goal of the study was not to place blame, but instead to give the state a heads up before certain species require emergency rescue measures, the way the greater sage grouse has. 

He says the state should keep an especially close eye on amphibians.