Wyoming Toad Reintroduction Program, with the leadership of Sean Putney, Senior Director of Zoological Collections, Kelsey Goens, Australasia Keeper and many other Zoo employees, the Zoo continues the efforts of the Wyoming Toad Species Survival Program (SSP) that have been underway for several years onsite and in the field to increase their population.
Indicators of change in the environment, toads and frogs can provide clues to a healthy, sustainable, genetically diverse ecosystem, necessary for many species survival. In 1994, Wyoming toads were virtually extinct in the wild. They faced a lot of problems, including toxic pesticides that were used in their habitat. Things were looking so bad for the toads that scientists in Wyoming brought the last remaining wild toads into captivity in 1994.
Thanks to captive breeding efforts, Wyoming toads are being reintroduced back into the wild. While these animals are on their way to recovery, they aren’t out of the woods yet: the wild populations are not yet self-sustaining, still relying on the regular release of captive-reared toads. For this reason, IUCN continues to list the toad as extinct in the wild. This is why the Kansas City Zoo will continue to hatch tadpoles and grow them to young adulthood for release in Wyoming as part of the Amphibian Ark. With many zoos participating in the Wyoming Toad SSP, it is our hope that their wild populations will increase to the point of eventually becoming self-sustaining.