Finding their song: Reviving the declining Western Chorus Frog population is now essential

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In November 2021, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Steven Guilbeault, issued an emergency order that immediately halted residential development in Longueuil, Quebec, to protect critical habitat for the one of Canada’s threatened amphibian species, the Western Chorus Frog.

Although this is one of the few cases where the federal government has applied the Species at Risk Act to stop development on private land, the western chorus frog population of the Canadian Shield – in addition to many other closely related species – has declined over the past 60 years. and continues to be a problem in Canada.

It was recently announced that the proposed alignment of Highway 413 in Ontario will affect the habitat of 11 species at risk, including the Western Chorus Frog. The recent disappearance of this frog and its habitat, particularly in parts of Ontario and Quebec, has caused much concern and controversy.

As an acoustical behavioral ecologist and reproductive endocrinologist who invented an injectable hormone blend that induces reproduction in frogs, we believe that hope still exists. Habitat protection and restoration, advanced reproductive technologies and reintroduction procedures are all at your fingertips. This multifaceted approach could help slow the decline of chorus frogs and other amphibians.

In November 2021, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Steven Guilbeault, issued an emergency order that immediately halted residential development in Longueuil, Quebec, to protect critical habitat for the one of Canada’s threatened amphibian species, the Western Chorus Frog.

Although this is one of the few cases where the federal government has applied the Species at Risk Act to stop development on private land, the western chorus frog population of the Canadian Shield – in addition to many other closely related species – has declined over the past 60 years. and continues to be a problem in Canada.

It was recently announced that the proposed alignment of Highway 413 in Ontario will affect the habitat of 11 species at risk, including the Western Chorus Frog. The recent disappearance of this frog and its habitat, particularly in parts of Ontario and Quebec, has caused much concern and controversy.

As an acoustical behavioral ecologist and reproductive endocrinologist who invented an injectable hormone blend that induces reproduction in frogs, we believe that hope still exists. Habitat protection and restoration, advanced reproductive technologies and reintroduction procedures are all at your fingertips. This multifaceted approach could help slow the decline of chorus frogs and other amphibians.

Amphibians, including the Western Chorus Frog and other frogs, toads, and salamanders, play vital ecological roles in the environment. They are essential links in the local food chain. They are also economically important, as they provide free pest control in residential areas by consuming insect species, such as mosquitoes and black flies, without the need for pesticides potentially harmful to wildlife.

Around the world, these amphibian species are rapidly disappearing due to habitat loss, disease, pollution, harvesting, invasive species, and climate change. More than 40% of species are threatened with extinction. The amphibian decline is part of the sixth mass extinction event on Earth, on a scale that approximates the extinction of the dinosaurs.

One conservation strategy for declining species is to collect individuals from the wild and breed them in the laboratory or in captivity.

This allows the offspring to grow without being threatened by predators, contaminants, or other disturbances. Healthy offspring can then be released to increase numbers in the natural environment.

With the team of Marc Mazerolle from Laval University, we have implemented this strategy thanks to a recent collaboration with the Montreal Biodôme and Sépaq (Société des establishments de Plein air du Québec), with the aim of increasing the number of healthy individuals that can be released into suitable restored natural sites for the benefit of all.

Two years into the project, adult chorus frogs have been successfully bred in captivity. Hundreds of tadpoles were reared as froglets and released in wetlands constructed for the species. Some of the introduced individuals survived their first winter and adult males could be heard calling females last spring. These methods can be applied to species all over the world.

The first step is to raise awareness of the importance of amphibians and the rate at which species are declining. There are several citizen science resources and projects dedicated to amphibian conservation, such as Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Amphibian Survival Alliance.

Protecting wetlands from destruction and pollution is one of the best ways to help. Wetlands are essential to the survival of amphibians. During the construction of housing developments and infrastructure, such as the Highway 413 project, wetlands are often drained or filled. Wetlands are home to many species of beautiful birds and plants, not just amphibians, and they act as an earth filter to improve water quality.

Being careful when walking or driving near wetlands is another way to help on an individual level. Avoid disturbing breeding amphibians. Leave the tadpoles in the water. Observe them and have fun watching them grow and come out of the water for the first time! Protecting local ponds near you can also help with this conservation.

You can also participate in public forums and let your community know that you support sustainable and responsible land use that keeps wetland habitats connected and protects critical areas for endangered species. Form volunteer groups to help protect the frogs as they migrate on the roads during the spring breeding season, as seen in other countries. We all have the power to make a positive difference in protecting amphibians.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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