By Sophie Osborn
CONTRARY TO A CLAIM IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE in March of this year, our Wyoming toad is not “gone from the wild.”
In fact, numbers of this beleaguered species held steady in 2008.
Twenty-seven adult-sized wild toads, all presumed descendants of reintroduced individuals, were documented at two lakes in the Laramie Valley during summer surveys. All 12 of those found at Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge were breeding-aged toads, but those found at Porter Lake had not yet reached breeding age.
The lack of breeders at Porter Lake is cause for concern, since several breeding-aged toads were found at this location the previous two years. Nevertheless, a decline at Porter Lake in the prevalence of chytrid fungus, a disease that has decimated amphibian populations worldwide, provides hope that the Wyoming toad can endure there. The Wyoming Outdoor Council will continue to keep tabs on our namesake toad, and we’re hopeful it will never truly be “gone from the wild.”