Frog Blog 2009

Mountain yellow-legged frog in the wild.

It has been a while since we last updated readers on the status of the mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa recovery program at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research (see post, Frog Blog). The long-term goal of the program is to reintroduce the offspring of our managed-care colony back into the wild to supplement the critically endangered Southern California population of mountain yellow-legged frogs.

Frank Santana

Before we get into it too much, let us introduce ourselves. My name is Frank Santana and I am a research technician and graduate student in ecology at SDSU (San Diego State University). Helping me out this summer with the frog research is our summer Fellow, James Liu. James is a fourth-year ecology, behavior, and evolution major at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and currently has one quarter of school remaining as he finishes a minor in conservation biology.

James Liu

Our goal this summer is to get the mountain yellow-legged frog off the federal endangered species list. If that doesn’t pan out, maybe we’ll set more bite-sized goals. Some things we’d REALLY like to accomplish are:

1) Manage our captive population of 65 frogs at the San Diego Zoo’s Beckman Center for Conservation Research and establish a successful captive-breeding program.
2) Work with other zoos to establish populations of mountain yellow-legged frogs in captivity.
3) Conduct field research of the frogs in their natural environment to determine habitat use patterns, observe thermoregulatory behaviors, describe activity patterns, and record frog calls.
4) Determine suitable field sites for future release of captive-bred offspring.

Over the next few months, James and I will chronicle our adventures and discoveries in our quest to save the mountain yellow-legged frog.

Frank Santana is a research technician in the Applied Animal Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research.
James Liu is a summer fellow at the Institute for Conservation Research.