Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium successfully hatched 520 critically endangered Wyoming toad tadpoles. 505 tadpoles were shipped to Wyoming in early June for release with other tadpoles produced at other institutions. The remaining tadpoles were kept by the Omaha Zoo and Aquarium to raise to adulthood and become part of the breeding program in the future.
On June 3, 2012 508 eggs hatched at Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium’s Amphibian Conservation Area. Eggs, in gelatinous strings, are laid mid-May to early June and the larvae usually go through metamorphosis by mid-July.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of only 11 institutions that participate in this breeding program. The Wyoming toad is one of nine species currently occupying the Amphibian Conservation Area and is one of two species, at this time whose offspring are released back into their native ranges. The release of the 505 tadpoles adds to the 2,184 tadpoles and toadlets Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium has previously released in the wild since 1995.
The Amphibian Crisis Area at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a facility capable of quarantining amphibians and carrying out captive breeding programs.
Wyoming toads are considered extinct in the wild by the IUCN and only exist in one small pond in the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Laramie, Wyo. They are critically endangered due to habitat destruction, drought in recent years, widespread use of aerial insecticides and the amphibian chytrid fungus.