|Tarahumara Frog recently reintroduced into a canyon in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.|
The Tarahumara Frog is a mostly Mexican species whose range barely enters the U.S. It was once rather common in several of the southernmost canyons of Arizona. In the 1970s and 1980s, the populations declined dramatically. The cause for the decline is not well understood, but diseases, introduced species, and pollution have all been blamed. About 350 were recently released into another canyon in southern Arizona, and about 500 or so were in captive breeding programs in the states. That means that the 100 or so released by us constituted a little more than ten percent of the total U.S. population.
|Beautiful landscapes of oak savannah on the way into the reintroduction site.|
|Loading our packs with Tarahumara Frogs and our personal gear for the day.|
|Hiking the frogs in through a beautiful landscape.|
When we reached the canyon about an hour and a half later, I was thinking that even aside from the cool frogs in our packs, it was special to be in one of the last known sites for this species in the U.S. The last known Tarahumara Frog in the United States had been found dead in this same stretch of canyon in 1983, only a decade after biologists estimated there were 500-700 of them here. We had another short introduction to the protocol, and headed upstream a little further to start releasing frogs.
|Heading upstream after a short introduction, ready to find some good frog pools.|
|A container of Tarahumara Frogs acclimating to the thermal and chemical conditions of the stream.|
|Tarahumara Frog in its new habitat|
|This was one of relatively few Tarahumara Frogs still easily visible at the edge of a pool on our return trip back down the canyon.|
|Hiking out at the end of a successful Tarhumara Frog release.|