Como Zoo helps U.S. Fish and Wildlife breed and rebuild the population of wild Wyoming toads

Did You Know?

Your support for Como Friends makes it possible for Como Zoo to participate in the Wyoming toad project, investing in equipment that keeps the toads thriving in a “behind-the-scenes” biosecure room, and allowing keepers to take part in field work in Wyoming as well as species preservation planning throughout the year.

From a six foot tall newborn giraffe, to a teacup sized baby snow leopard, Como Zoo has been enjoying a little baby boom this year.

But the most prolific breeding project of all actually takes place behind the scenes in a biosecure room in Como’s Animal Support Building where several breeding pairs of rare Wyoming toads produced a bumper crop of offspring this year—more than 3,000 tadpoles.

It’s all part of an aggressive species preservation partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department and Como Zoo, aimed at rebuilding the wild population of Wyoming toads—an amphibian species that’s been on the brink of extinction in the wild.

Since 2008, Como Zoo has been part of a consortium of zoos that breed the surviving toads, sending thousands of tadpoles and toadlets to Wyoming each summer where they’re reintroduced to their native habitat in the Laramie Basin.

“They’re not your typical cute, cuddly, fuzzy zoo animal, so people might not think of them as very important to the ecosystem,” says Como Zoo keeper Mike Lee, who leads the Wyoming toad project at Como. “But in fact they’re crucial for insect management, and they’re an important indicator species. If there are environmental issues with water quality, for instance, they’ll be the first species to show signs that there’s something wrong because they’re amphibians with permeable skin.”

Though Como’s Wyoming toads live behind-the-scenes now, visitors will have a glimpse of them when the Aquatic Animals Building is renovated in the year ahead. The design plans for this floor to ceiling “extreme home makeover” include an Amphibian Station that will allow Como to showcase its work protecting, preserving and breeding Wyoming toads, and other endangered amphibians such as the Mississippi gopher frog and the Panamanian golden frog.

CONSERVATION CHAMPIONS: From following the footprints of snow leopards in Kazakhstan, to taking care of orphaned seal pups in California, several members of Como’s talented team of keepers and horticulturists have been on the go this year sharing their expertise with partner conservation groups and bringing home new insights as “Conservation Champions,” a new initiative created by Como Friends. This popular new program empowers Como professionals to become active partners in conservation efforts across the U.S. and around the globe.

Thank you for helping Como Friends inspire community generosity to advance Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as a destination where people from all walks of life can gather, learn and enjoy the natural world.

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