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Potter Park Zoo sends nearly 2,000 toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for repopulation

A pair of crested toads.
Potter Park Zoo
A pair of Puerto Rico's Crested Toads photographed at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo.

Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo is helping a species of rare amphibians make a comeback in their native home in the Caribbean.

The Potter Park Zoo shipped nearly 2,000 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles last week to the island.

They were bred and grown in a controlled environment that mimics the rainy weather of their natural habitat as part of a restoration effort for Puerto Rico’s only native toad species.

Jacob Brodie, the lead zookeeper for birds, reptiles and amphibians, says scientists thought the animal went extinct before a small population was re-discovered in the late sixties.

“They started up a captive breeding program for them in the eighties. Zoos got involved," he added.

Brodie says Potter Park Zoo began participating in repopulation efforts in 2009.

The tadpoles were kept at the zoo for a week after hatching before being flown down to the island.

"They do a long FedEx shipment actually down to Puerto Rico where they are met at the airport by our partners who take them out to various pond sites to release them," Brodie said.

Once the tadpoles arrive to Puerto Rico, they are released in protected areas of water.

"One of the fun things is when they go to release our tadpoles, it's not uncommon for there to be tadpoles in the water, which means toads that we've released in the past have grown up and become toads and are now reproducing on their own which is great," he said.

The zoo also has some Puerto Rican Crested Toads on display at the zoo on loan from the territory's government.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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