Listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Puerto Rican crested toad (Peltophryne lemur) is the only toad native to Puerto Rico. The Fort Worth Zoo has played an active role in the conservation of this species through a strong captive management and reintroduction program.
The Zoo’s Executive Director, Michael Fouraker, and Curator of Ectotherms, Diane Barber traveled with two teachers to Puerto Rico to look for toads and visit reintroduction sites. The teachers traveled with Zoo staff to learn about the crested toad and related field research, including using radio telemetry equipment and collecting data on toads. Zoo staff set up frogloggers (automated recording systems for monitoring animal vocalizations) to record amphibians at night in order to identify species in the area. Educators participate with Fort Worth Zoo staff members in conservation efforts around the world through the Zoo’s Museum of Living Art (MOLA) Teacher Institute. These opportunities equip teachers with new ideas to introduce conservation methods into curriculums, making math and science more interactive to students.
Diane continues to make annual trips to Puerto Rico to oversee the conservation measures taking place at reintroduction sites.