In times when more and more species are added to the endangered animal list, there is hope coming from a frog species in California. Specialists report that an endangered Yosemite frog shows signs of improvement regarding its population numbers.
One of the endangered frog species in the Yosemite Park is the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. It lives in the mountains and can be recognized by the particular color of its legs. However, it can often be mistaken by the southern mountain yellow-legged frog.
Former reports account for the large populations of this Yosemite frog. However, in the last century, they were decimated by predators such as trout. After the invasion of the fish, the frogs were facing another threat, namely diseases. Statistics show that diseases killed approximately ninety percent of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs in California.
Environmentalists have been long trying to help the amphibians. In recent years, their efforts have increased. The last two decades were dedicated to insistent conservation strategies to improve the status of the yellow-legged frogs. One of the main actions that experts took was stop supplying the Yosemite rivers with fish. Trout was also brought here for fishing purposes, but if these species stop invading the frogs’ natural habitat, the amphibians have significantly improved chances to survive.
Now that the threat of predators was removed, frogs have to deal with diseases. However, specialists have another good news. It seems like the frogs gained immunity to the fatal condition. It was triggered by a fungus, but the amphibians don’t fear it anymore.
The reduction of two of the major threats translates as ideal odds for the yellow-legged frogs to regain their balance. Nevertheless, these conditions were only reported with the Yosemite frog, so they are restricted to the area of the Yosemite Park. However, specialists believe that these methods can also turn out to be efficient if applied to other species and other regions.
In spite of the signs of improvement, the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog is still under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Perhaps it won’t be long until it is cut off the list, but specialists don’t want to take any risks. They will continue the programs which protect the frogs and hope for new achievements soon.
The new study accounting for the comeback of the Yosemite frog was published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia