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Buffalo Zoo participating in toad conservation effort

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The Buffalo Zoo has sent hundreds of endangered Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico as part of a major conservation effort.

Each year, the zoo breeds the toads to participate in the release program. Katrina McIntosh, a reptile and amphibian keeper at the Zoo, says the tadpoles are released where they can help repopulate in the wild.

"Back in 1984 they were placed on the Species Survival Plan. They were the first amphibians to be placed on this list. They went nearly extinct due to habitat destruction, predation and competition. They guys are really important. They are the only native toad to Puerto Rico," McIntosh told WBFO News.

The zoo breeds the toads to participate in this release program. The Buffalo Zoo's reptile department has had a long-standing breeding effort and plays a major role in repopulating species in the wild. 

McIntosh says it only takes around 21 days for the creatures to completely turn from tadpoles into toadlets and develop both their front and back legs, which she calls "incredibly fast."

The zookeeper says transmitter have been placed in some of the toadlets released this year to monitor how they survive out in the wild. She says some stable populations in the wild are returning to the breeder pools.