Photo credit: Suzanne L. Collins
The Wyoming Toad, Anaxyrus baxteri, is listed as ‘EXTINCT IN THE WILD’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. As this toad’s common name suggests, it is native to Wyoming in the United States. Back in the 1950s it was common and often found in the short grass at the edges of ponds and lakes.
A huge and unexplained decline began in the 1960s, and by the mid 1980s they were considered to be extinct. However, in 1987 a small population was found at Mortenson Lake, and by the 1990s a captive breeding program using this population was started.
Mortenson Lake is now a National Wildlife Refuge and Wyoming toadlets are annually reintroduced into this habitat. Sadly, these reintroductions have had limited success and it is thought that chytrid fungus, predation, pollution, limited genetic diversity, and a drought-related increase in salinity levels of Mortenson Lake, may have played a role in this. Currently, it appears that the population is continuing to decline.
To learn more about the Wyoming Toad, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.