‘Was thought to be extinct’ -- Potter Park Zoo ships 1,800 Tadpoles to Puerto Rico

‘Was thought to be extinct’ -- Potter Park Zoo ships 1,800 Tadpoles to Puerto Rico
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 1:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - 1,800 tadpoles were shipped to Puerto Rico from Potter Park Zoo in order to help restore the population of an endangered species.

Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles were sent to Puerto Rico and released into the wild in late June by the Potter Park team. The process was part of the Puerto Rican Crested Toad Conservancy (PRCTC) in an effort to restore the population of the Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles which are an endangered species.

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According to the Potter Park team, “The Puerto Rican crested toad (Peltophryne lemur) was thought to be extinct until 1967 when a small population was discovered on the northern part of Puerto Rico. It is the only toad native to Puerto Rico and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and competition from the invasive marine toad.”

The Puerto Rican crested toad became the first amphibian to receive Species Survival Plan (SSP) status within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Potter Park Zoo team sent tens of thousands of tadpoles to Puerto Rico as part of the SSP breeding program.

The SSP recommended toad pairings and Potter Park Zoo was asked to breed two pairs of toads in 2022.

“While some toads will breed without any assistance, most require hormones to encourage egg laying and fertilization, said Potter Park officials. “The tanks used for breeding are equipped with rain bars and Puerto Rican crested toad calls are played around the clock. Once eggs are laid, the adult toads are removed from the tanks and returned to their holding tanks.”

The tadpoles hatched after 24 hours of developing. They remained at Potter Park Zoo for a week which gave them time to grow before being shipped. Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles morph into young toads approximately 2-3 weeks after hatching.

Potter Park Zoo officials said that guests can visit the Puerto Rican crested toads in the Reptile building at the zoo.

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