Effort to save endangered frogs moves to Kootenays

Biologists edendangered northern leopard frogs from the Vancouver Aquarium to an undisclosed location in the Columbia Valley Marshes last night.

Biologists in British Columbia will attempt to transplant a species of disappearing and endangered frog into the Kootenay region.  

For the first time ever, Rocky Mountain northern leopard frogs have been reared in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium to be released back into the wild.     

Four years ago, biologists started gathering northern leopard frog eggs from the Creston area, which were sent to the aquarium to be raised in captivity.

"We were successful in getting fertilized eggs from them and producing over 2,000 tadpoles this year," said Dr. Dennis Thoney, director of the aquarium's animal operations.

Biologists released those tadpoles Wednesday night in a marshy area north of Cranbrook, but the won't say exactly where they will be released over concerns about the frogs being disturbed.

"Out of the 6,000 species of amphibians, one-third to one-half are threatened or endangered. Many have gone extinct already," said Thoney. "If the translocation works and the tadpoles grow into mature frogs and breed, the transplants will be tried again."

Angus Glass is with the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program run by B.C. Hydro, the Province of B.C., and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

"The northern leopard frog is endangered federally and red-listed provincially and it's very important that we look after these last remnants of the frog in the province," said Glass.

with files from from the CBC's Bob Keating