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5/8/2011 6:00:00 AM
Black Mountains Amphibians
New home for a rare frog
JC AMBERLYN/Miner A biologist releases a rare Relict Leopard Frog Friday. This is a young adult and will grow, eventually reaching a length of up to 3.5 inches long.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

A biologist releases a rare Relict Leopard Frog Friday. This is a young adult and will grow, eventually reaching a length of up to 3.5 inches long.



Top to Bottom:JC AMBERLYN/Miner Wildlife specialists and other volunteers hike on BLM land into the wilds of the Black Mountains to reach the springs where the frogs will be released. Many carried buckets of water strapped to their backpacks, filled with several frogs or tadpoles. JC AMBERLYN/MinerBrian Wooldridge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands next to one of the pools where frogs were released.JC AMBERLYN/MinerChristina Akins of the Arizona Game and Fish Department releases tadpoles.
Top to Bottom:

JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Wildlife specialists and other volunteers hike on BLM land into the wilds of the Black Mountains to reach the springs where the frogs will be released. Many carried buckets of water strapped to their backpacks, filled with several frogs or tadpoles.



JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Brian Wooldridge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands next to one of the pools where frogs were released.



JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Christina Akins of the Arizona Game and Fish Department releases tadpoles.




JC Amberlyn
Staff Photographer


KINGMAN - April 29 was "Save the Frogs Day" and several local wildlife biologists and specialists from Arizona and Nevada observed the day quite literally as they worked in the wilds near Kingman to help benefit a rare species of frog.

In a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, about a dozen people hiked into the craggy wilderness of the Black Mountains near Highway 68, just west of Golden Valley. On their backs they carried buckets filled with water and a precious cargo: young adults and tadpoles of the Relict Leopard Frog.



2,000 left

According to frog specialist Mike Sredl of the AZG&FD, this species of frog is believed to only number, at most, about 2,000 individuals. The frog is so rare it was once believed to be extinct, but a small population was discovered in the extreme northwest corner of Arizona and a few other locations nearby. (There are other species of leopard frogs found elsewhere.)

Scientists have collected some of the eggs the frogs lay en masse in hidden pools, hoping to raise tadpoles (frog young) they can release in currently unoccupied but otherwise promising habitat within the frog's range. Suitable habitat includes a flowing, permanent water source, pools deep enough for tadpoles and frogs to hide, and a lack of non-native competitors/predators. When frog populations are only located in a few areas, those populations are susceptible to disease or disaster. As AZG&FD Region III Non-Game Specialist John Kraft put it, having these frogs in several different locations "avoids having all your eggs in one basket."



Green ribbon

Suitable habitat had been located in the Black Mountains, near Union Pass and Highway 68. Several springs of water create a ribbon of green threading through an ocean of desert brown far from the beaten path. Environmental assessments were conducted and agreements reached between the AZG&FD, USFWS, BLM and UNLV. There are two other Relict Leopard Frog populations in Arizona; the Black Mountains site will be the third. (Nevada has several sites as well.)

Rebeca Rivera from UNLV Biological Life Sciences raised the tadpoles that scientists collected and was one of those transporting tadpoles. And so on this day devoted to "Save the Frogs," about a dozen people strapped heavy buckets of water and frogs onto their backs and hiked almost an hour into rough desert wilderness. Most were from the AZG&FD, UNLV and USFWS, but trekkers also included members of the media.

At the end of the journey lay several springs that biologists had determined to be good release sites for the hoped-for new population of frogs. Volunteers formed a human dis-assembly line as brush was taken out to make one pool deeper and clearer than before.



Relocation

Finally, the buckets were brought to the water's edge and about 70 tadpoles and a dozen small "froglets" were gently released. Some dove almost immediately into the deepest ends while others hopped onto sticks and rocks and got a look at their new surroundings and their human benefactors.

It is hoped that this frog population will take hold and provide the Relict Leopard Frog with another buffer against oblivion. The frogs are not classified as endangered but are rare enough to be a "Species of Special Concern." Biologists will continue to monitor the population and may transplant more frogs later on.

Amphibian populations around the world are declining. Some causes are known, such as the fungal disease chytridiomycosis and the introduction of non-native species such as bullfrogs and crayfish, which compete with or prey upon native frogs. Other causes are less certain. Through efforts like this one, it is hoped that humans can help stay the tide and keep native ecosystems healthy, diverse and functioning far into the future.

Amphibians like the frog are important indicators of the health of the environment because of their sensitivity to toxins and other environmental factors. If they can do well, it indicates their environment is healthy.

ICT - Re/Max - cdavidcooley (rentals/sales) 233x388
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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011
Article comment by: Patriot WES

@ You really don't have a clue, Thanks for making the same point as I did to D. Latern!
You say man will be gone via a microorganism, I think it will be by lack of sunlight and the ability to grow food. All it will take is a super volcano to blow or an astriod to hit. I totally agree with your statement of " Humans are truly insignificant to the planet itself"


Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Article comment by: You really dont have a clue

OH yes...Before the vast number of grammar professors chime in.

I meant to type..."you must have slept THROUGH biology class"....Ill correct my mistake and save you the rise in Bloodpressure.

And Life preserved....If humans are responsible for extinction of species....Who was responsible for it prior to human existance? The planet is not governed by the human race. It can and has been taking care of itself for millions of years. We are nothing and we do nothing in the scope of planetary evolution. It wont take the earth long at all to "repair" the damage caused by the Human race after we are gone.

Life goes on. Humans are truely insignificant to the planet itself.

Do some research before you speak and make yourself look uneducated.


Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Article comment by: You really dont have a clue

@ life preserved

You really must have slept thought Biology.

Its a known Fact that the earth loses and gains thousands of species yearly.

Come on...You HAVE to know that. Humans have done their share of damage to the planet I agree.

However, when the earth deems its Our time to go. We will be gone. And yes a microorganisum will probably be the very thing that takes out the human race.

Blaming Humans for the natural cycles of life on Planet earth...is just plain IGNORANT.


Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Article comment by: Patriot WES

@ D. Latern, Can't handle the truth? The truth is that snakes will be very happy because there is a new food source! I'm a firm believer in Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness! If this is what these people want to do, that's fine with me. I was just pointing out the obvious! If you will check on evolution, you will find that a lot of species disappear and some new one are found all of the time! It's called the real world.
Knowing that you are a lib, probably means you are out to save the world, which is fine, but please don't tell me how I should feel or that I need to come to terms with anything! Typical lib, wants to tell everybody else how to they should feel and live!


Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Article comment by: Life Preserved

To Really I mean really:
Humans not nature are causing the extinction. Too bad your kind don't become extinct.


Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Hopefully this touchy feely, save the planet will not result in a million dollar bridge, as a frog crossing.I wonder how much this is costing us?Isn't what these people are doing called messing with the food chain?
D.L. I have an aversion to this touchy feely thing as it is nothing more than another left wing bleeding heart scam!


Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Article comment by: Denise Bensusan

I'm trying to find the pics I took in 2002 and 2003. Each year I had at least 1 pair of what looks pretty much identical to these IN my pool. I live North of Kingman about 22 miles or so. If I can find them I will send them to JC.

denisebensusan@speakoutarizona.com


Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ Patriot WES

Re: "All this appears to be is a feel good story! But I'm sure the snakes in the area will love it!"

I'm sorry you have such an aversion to feeling good. I hope some day you come to terms with that.

/dl


Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Article comment by: Patriot WES

All this appears to be is a feel good story! But I'm sure the snakes in the area will love it!

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

@ Butch M.

Vandalized. I'm not surprised but sad. I've never been able to comprehend the mind that can destroy for it's own sake. We've built and discovered some beautiful and awesome things. How can there also be destroyers in the same genes.

As for access, I thought it already had been closed off. The gate always seems locked. Shame, things like that only keep out the folks who want to enjoy but don't even phase the destroyers. Fortunately I've got lots of pix of the place. BTW, do you know what it was called? I've never heard it referred to other than the village in Union Pass.

@ Really I mean really?

Some folks simply get pleasure out of things such as this. They're usually the same sort who can watch a hawk hold motionless in a slip of air and feel its pleasure watch a pair of quail squabble on a gray morning and chuckle. There are simply those who enjoy helping nature. Maybe pay it back a little for some of the destruction we wreak on it every day. But yeah, bottom line, it's a feel good thing. Nothing wrong with that.


Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Article comment by: Donna W.

@ really I mean really

By saving the other living things on earth we are saving ourselves. we rely on a healthy environment to provide us with food and other resources. Degraded and destroyed habitat produces neither. No organism is too small...in fact the smallest organisms are often the most important!


Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Article comment by: Really I mean really?

I know Ill get hammered for saying this. Whats saving this frog going to accomplish? Except a feel good moment.

Thousands of species go extinct yearly. Its been happening since time began.

Its the way the earth works. Some call it natural Selection. Mankind has alot less to do with it then most know.

Hammer me if you want...Look it up for yourself your sitting in front of the Internet.

The only Species we should really be trying to save is our own. We are just as expendible as any other Species


Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

@ Diogenes' Lantern, the area of Union Pass you speak of is Arizona State Trust Land and you are correct in that when the land became property of the state, they had plans to make it into a park. As most everything the state plans, it changes. The old gas station building and the rock house have been vandalized. It is a shame that people destroy things that do not belong to them. I just wished I had seen the individual or individuals who knocked holes in the building’s walls. Then they could have been charged, convicted and sentenced to repairing, and upgrading the facilities for all to enjoy. I just hope that by bringing rare frogs and tadpoles to the area, stated and federal officials will not decided to close it off to the public because of the transplants they packed into the area in buckets.

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Article comment by: Joe (Last name withheld)

Also repopulate the area with Bufo alvarius and peyote and we should be set!

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011
Article comment by: jist me again,

cool, now lets go find somebody with coy or gold fish to go release there.

Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

I know the area fairly well. I've been here long enough to have been able to turn off 68 and drive through the little village in Union Pass. There used to be an old two pump gas station there too.

It's good to hear people are taking care of the area. There's quite a lot of beauty back in those canyons. Hidden caves, grottos, mines. I would have liked to lived up there back in its day.

When they were expanding Union Pass into four lanes, there was talk of turning that village into a park of some sort. I've never heard anything about it since. But it's still a good idea.

/dl


Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011
Article comment by: Big Enough?

I would gladly contribute to this conservation effort if I could be assured that these frogs would one day get big enough to EAT!!!



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