Breeding efforts around the nation have helped the Wyoming toad to make a comeback in the wild.
The Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri) also called the Baxter’s toad, an amphibian that was all but extinct in Wyoming, has made a remarkable comeback thanks to breeding and reintroduction efforts in the wild. The amphibian was thought to have gone extinct in the 1970s, until in the early 1980s, fishermen on Wyoming’s Mortenson Lake found 10 specimens at a private club on the lake. Biologists were called in to investigate, and those 10 toads helped launch a breeding program, according to The Branding Iron.
The toads are bred in captivity throughout the United States and are then shipped to Laramie, Wyoming, where they are released. The breeding efforts have paid off as the numbers of now wild Wyoming toads have increased.
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“We have started seeing higher population numbers and wild breeding events recently, but we still have a long way to go. We want them to be a self-sustaining population as our ultimate goal,” Lizzy Mack, a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told The Branding Iron. “When we do that we can remove them from the Endangered Species Act.”
Behold the currently "extinct in the wild" Wyoming toad about to be released into the big bad world!
The toads have benefited from the kindness of private landowners, as four of five of the release sites are on private lands, and Mack said without the cooperation of these landowners, the rehabilitation of the toads would be nearly impossible.
“We have had such a positive experience [with private landowners],” Mack said. “We have five reintroduction sites, four of which are on private land, only one is a refuge. It’s really been a positive influence. It’s a huge success story. I can’t say enough positive things about the landowners.”
Hopefully the Wyoming toads will experience increases in their wild numbers and they can be removed from the Endangered Species List.