Release of Puerto
Rican Crested Toads
in Private Lands
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4,000 Puerto Rican Crested Tadpoles were released today at Finca El Tallonal, located within the northern Karst of Puerto Rico. This reintroduction marks a new beginning for the species after 26 years of captive breeding and successful releases in the south of the island. Retracing the steps that led to the verge of extinction, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad, along with the Puerto Rican Parrot are two listed species destined to make a comeback to their old stumping grounds...the Northern Karst Region.
The Puerto Rican Crested Toad is the only native species of toad in Puerto Rico and can not be found anywhere else in the world. Toads are an integral part of their habitat, by easting insects they help maintain the ever so important ecological balance.
Hours before the release, an unprecedented tri-party agreement was signed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the NGO Ciudadanos Del Karso (CDK) and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DNER). The agreement formalized for the first time in Puerto Rico, conservation efforts of a threatened species within private lands. All previous recovery efforts for the Puerto Rican Crested Toad were carried out in public lands.
“This strategic alliance is part of an aggressive plan to urgently recover the species. The short-term goal is to establish three populations in the karsts region. In order to do this, we must all get involved,” Edwin Muñiz, Field Supervisor for the Service in the Caribbean. “In the long run, we want to recover the species and delis it,” said Muñiz.
“This effort demonstrates how different organizations can work together even when we don't always see eye-to-eye in every issue," explained Abel Vale, President of CDK. “We feel very happy with the collaborative agreement we are signing that has lead up to this release today. We hope this event becomes a turning-point for the recovery of the species,” said DNER Secretary, Javier Vélez Arocho.
In1980, when the toads were evidently dwindling, pairs were collected to start a captive breeding program. We believe toads from the north and the south are not the same. Agencies, zoos and aquariums involved in the captive breeding program have never mixed the toads to avoid human interference with the course of nature.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/. Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286