San Antonio Zoo helps conserve endangered Puerto Rican toad population

A report by Camille Sauers for My San Antonio.

The San Antonio Zoo recently released Puerto Rican Crested Toad Tadpoles into their native habitat, after conservation efforts to help revitalize the endangered species. 

At one time, the species was believed to be extinct, however one fluctuating population persists in the Guanica National Forest in the southern portion of the main island. Anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 adult toads exist today. The biggest threats to their survival are habitat loss and invasive species, according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife. 

Release of Puerto Rican Crested Toad Tadpoles in October.
Release of Puerto Rican Crested Toad Tadpoles in October.

“Saving Puerto Rican Crested Toads is one of almost 20 research and conservation programs San Antonio Zoo has partnered with to create a global community that loves, engages with, acts for, and protects animals and the places where they live,” says zoo president and CEO Tim Morrow. “We’re honored to be a part of this initiative. It’s a great testament to this community’s dedication to wildlife protection as well as the depth of our abilities.”

The San Antonio Zoo has released 16,308 tadpoles back into their native Puerto Rico since 2010, as part of a partnership between the conservancy and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The most recent group of tadpoles officially reached Puerto Rico on October 21, 2021. 

The tadpoles were released on the south part of Puerto Rico's main island.
The tadpoles were released on the south part of Puerto Rico’s main island.

“We are so proud to be part of the successful recovery of the critically endangered Puerto Rican Crested Toad,” says Alan Kardon, Vice President of Animal Care & Horticulture, for San Antonio Zoo. “The Puerto Rican Crested Toad is a particularly intriguing species and one that has been challenging to track in the wild due to their nocturnal nature and limited numbers. Their most notable feature is a long, upturned snout with a crest above the eyes.”

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