“The Puerto Rican crested toad has greenish-brown pebbled skin and marbled golden eyes. It grows 3-4 inches long and has the ability to nearly flatten its body completely to fit into tiny crevices.”
Move over Coquí, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad is making a comeback. That’s right, according to this USA Today story, scientists at the the Detroit Zoo have been growing and caring for over 5,6000 tadpoles that will shortly be making their way back to Puerto Rico, where they are endangered. As amphibians, these toads are close biological relatives (like casi primos) of the Coquí, the official animal of Puerto Rico.
These crested toads were bred in captivity because their numbers are in decline, due to environmental threats. Because of how difficult it is to create the exact conditions under which the toads can and will mate, a nationwide program was launched to create these mating labs for them. From getting the right water, to the right barometric pressure and even playing the right mating calls, scientists are taking all necessary steps.
In a press release from the Detroit Zoo, Dr. Ruth Marcec, director of the National Amphibian Conservation Center, commented about the drastic measures taken to preserve these toads:
“Amphibians are in crisis, with nearly half of the world’s known 7,660 species threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, infectious diseases and other factors. Bolstering the population of these amphibians in their natural environment is a triumph for conservation.”
The zoo has been successful in producing over 47,000 of these tadpoles and will send close to 6,000 of them to Puerto Rico, where they’ll hopefully help bring the numbers back up to normal.
Bringing the toads back will help keep the waters cleaner and keep the ecosystem in balance, even if they do get some side-eye from the beloved Coquí.