Olaf is the world's first Puerta Rican crested toad hatched from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing frozen semen collected from the wild. and two years later, Olaf is a father! To 5095 tadpoles to be exact. The Zoo will be keeping 10 of these offspring to continue breeding genetically diverse Puerto Rican crested toads for future reintroduction, and the remaining 5,085 (along with an additional 3,759 tadpoles hatched at the Zoo) were released in June at the protected site back in their native range in Puerto Rico!
These successful hatchings are important because the Puerto Rican crested toad's natural habitat is dwindling. Land development, rising sea levels and introduced marine toads and Cuban tree frogs in the same ponds make it difficult for Puerto Rican crested toads to thrive without conservation success stories like Olaf's.
The Fort Worth Zoo and its partners from Mississippi State University have continued their efforts with assisted reproduction technology (ART0 this summer for critically endangered amphibians. These advancements allow zoos, researchers and other conservationists to expand their population genetics used to increase the overall population while keeping the toads in their wild, natural habitat. Stay tuned for a closer look at the ART and conservation work taking place behind the scenes at the Zoo.