Zoo helping boost endangered frog population with baby frog release: ‘Every tiny frog counts’

Multiple northern leopard frogs are being released in Washington state after getting a head...
Multiple northern leopard frogs are being released in Washington state after getting a head start at the Oregon Zoo.(Oregon Zoo/Michael Durham)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 3:06 PM CDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV/Gray News) - Wildlife officials are helping an endangered frog species in the Pacific Northwest.

More than a hundred endangered northern leopard frogs have been released into the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

KPTV reports the froglets were hatched from eggs collected by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildfire at the Oregon Zoo. They spent six months in a secluded area within the zoo.

“We keep the eggs safe and healthy until they’re ready to hatch,” said Sara Morgan, who oversees the zoo’s frog-rearing efforts. “Froglets have a much better chance at surviving in the wild on their own than eggs or tadpoles.”

Zoo biologists said northern leopard frogs have been rapidly disappearing from their native ranges in the Pacific Northwest. The species has been listed as endangered since 1999 in Washington state, and only one known population remains.

“Every tiny frog counts,” Morgan said.

Biologists attribute the species’ decline to a combination of threats, including habitat loss, disease, pollution and climate change. The zoo and its conservation partners said they hope to replenish the region’s northern leopard frog population.

The recovery effort is a partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State University and the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.