Diane Barber Named 2012 Recovery Champion

News Releases

Diane Barber Named 2012 Recovery Champion

Fort Worth Zoo staff member recognized for conservation work with Chiricahua leopard frog

FORT WORTH, Texas – Fort Worth Zoo Curator of Ectotherms Diane Barber has been named a 2012 Recovery Champion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in honor of her outstanding work with the New Mexico Chiricahua Leopard Frog Conservation Working Group.

The award recognizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners who are working to advance the recovery of threatened and endangered species of plants and animals. In a letter to the team, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service Daniel Ashe wrote, “Your success is a tribute to the enthusiasm of individual members who have devoted their resources and their time to conservation. Your team’s initiatives have changed conversations from stopping losses to advancing recovery.”

The Chiricahua leopard frog is a threatened species found exclusively in isolated areas within Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico. By 2008, non-native predators and disease had erased nearly two-thirds of the populations in New Mexico.

In 2012, the group celebrated its first-ever successful Chiricahua leopard frog breeding. This was the first time this species had been bred in an entirely captive, indoor environment. Thanks to the careful manipulation of environmental settings within the Fort Worth Zoo’s Museum of Living Art (MOLA), three females laid eggs naturally without the use of hormones. A total of 456 captive-hatched Chiricahua leopard frog tadpoles were released at a reintroduction site in New Mexico.

“Diane’s tireless efforts have made an enormous difference in the future of Chiricahua leopard frog conservation,” said Tarren Wagener Wiggans, Fort Worth Zoo director of animal programs and conservation. “Her team’s accomplishment is a groundbreaking step in the preservation of this species.”

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Recovery Champion awards honors Service staff members and their partners, recognizing their essential role in the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

The nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo has been ranked the No. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide and the No. 1 attraction in the DFW Metroplex by Zagat survey. The Zoo is home to more than 500 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, housed in the brand new Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year.


For further information, contact:

Alexis Wilson, Communications Director