Chiricahua Leopard Frog

Chiricahua leopard frog Radke 512 X 219

A significant step in the recovery of the Chiricahua leopard frog was accomplished in 2011 through a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, and the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station.

Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last sites in southeast Arizona where Chiricahua leopard frogs occur naturally in the wild.  Extreme drought conditions are increasingly diminishing the flow of Leslie Creek within the refuge and the frog’s protected habitat is rapidly disappearing.  Because of the extreme drought, leopard frog tadpoles were gathered from Leslie Creek and transported to the Southwestern Research Station near Portal, AZ, where the frogs are being raised in a controlled environment.  

The success of this “head start program” has provided for the release of frogs into a rehabilitated pond on the Research Station’s property.  As a result, for the first time in many years, Chiricahua leopard frogs are living “in the wild” in the Chiricahua Mountains.  The plan is to release the leopard frogs at multiple sites within their range to protect the species from a single disastrous event -- like the drying up of a wetland.