Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog Project

The mountain yellow-legged frog, which once hopped throughout California’s upper elevations have dropped more than 90 percent in the past decade due to chytrid, a skin fungus that thickens the frog’s skin so they can’t breathe. Researchers at San Francisco State University have developed a treatment for the fungus, a bacterial bath that so far seems to help frogs fight off infection.

The Conservation Issue:

The Mountain Yellow Legged Frog was once one of the most numerous animals in the alpine habitats of the Sierra Nevada. It is now on the verge of extinction due to the decimating effects of the chytrid fungus. This fungus attacks the permeable skin of susceptible amphibian species, creating a crisis across the globe. Once the chytrid fungus is present in the environment, the chance of infection is very high. This can hamper the success of reintroduction efforts of unaffected frogs back into the wild.

Solution:

There is hope for the recovery of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, and other species affected by chytrid, through the pioneering work of the San Francisco State University Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog Project.

This project studies the natural resistance of survivor populations of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, and has discovered beneficial bacteria with anti-chytrid properties that resides on the skin of some frog and salamander species. Anti-fungal baths for the frogs aids their resistance to infection, increasing their chance of survival when reintroduced into the wild. This is a lucky leap for this California native frog, and for amphibians around the world.

Oakland Zoo’s Role:

Conservation & Treatment: The Zoo will be aiding in the conservation of these frogs in their native habitat and helping to conduct the anti-fungal baths in the Zoo’s Biodiversity Center.

Habitat Preservation: The zoo maintains a habitat for local frogs at the Arroyo Viejo Creek, located within Oakland Zoo’s 500-acre Knowland Park.

How You Can Help:

  • You can help protect amphibians that live in our own neighborhoods by volunteering with local and regional habitat restoration projects that help restore native habitat for amphibians and other animals and plants, such as Oakland Zoo's own Arroyo Viejo Creek.

  • Support Project Golden Frog by donating to the Oakland Zoo Conservation Fund. Email Amy Gotliffe for more information.

  • If you have pet amphibians, please do not release them into the wild as they may introduce dangerous diseases to susceptible local populations.

  • Teach children to look but not to catch and hold local amphibians, like frogs, in order to keep them healthy and thriving in our own backyard.


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