Heritage Fund gives head start to Chiricahua leopard frogs

[Source: AZ Game & Fish News Media, 2-23-2011]Celebrating 20 years of conserving Arizona’s wildlife

One of the most beneficial sources of funding for Arizona’s wildlife and outdoor recreationists is the Heritage Fund. Two decades ago, Arizonans overwhelmingly approved the creation of the fund, which, among other things, directs money from lottery ticket sales to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to invest in conservation efforts like educating children about wildlife, acquiring critical wildlife habitats for sensitive species, and protecting and recovering many of the state’s imperiled wildlife.
One sensitive species benefiting from the Heritage Fund is the Chiricahua leopard frog.  This medium-sized frog was once abundant throughout the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. It has a green-brown skin color with numerous dark spots on its back, thus its name “leopard frog.”

Reductions in the frogs’ distribution the past few decades prompted their listing as federally threatened in 2002 under the Endangered Species Act. Reasons for declines of wildlife species are not always clear, and several interacting factors are often at play. Biologists generally agree that predation by introduced species, especially crayfish, American bullfrogs and sport fishes, and chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease that is killing frogs and toads around the globe, are the leading causes. Other factors have also contributed to their decline, including degradation and loss of wetlands, recent catastrophic wildfires, drought and contaminants [to read the full article, click here].