Project Golden Frog - Maryland Zoo Conservation

Recently The Maryland Zoo's commitment to conservation of Panamanian Golden Frogs was recognized with a prestigious Edward H. Bean Award by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Learn more about the efforts to save this endangered species and the collaborative work being led by The Maryland Zoo to help someday reintroduce Panamanian Golden Frogs into the wild. (2:06)

Saving Panamanian Golden Frogs

The Maryland Zoo is home to the world's largest population of critically endangered Panamanian Golden Frogs. Heidi Ross is the Director of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in El Valle, Panama and works directly with Project Golden Frog to help save this critically endangered species. Heidi recently visited the Zoo to collaborate and learn about the Zoo's extensive breeding program. Heidi and the rest of the team at the El Valle Center are part of the North American effort to one day potentially reintroduce these animals back into the wild. (1:40)

Captive Propagation

Following more than three years of field work by Project Golden Frog/Proyecto Rana Dorada (PGF/PRD) personnel and volunteers, 20 pairs of adults and approximately 60 juvenile golden frogs were collected in 2000-2003, and imported the United States with all necessary CITES, Panama's Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), US Fish and Wildlife Service permits. As a result of breeding programs at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, the Detroit Zoo, and several other PGF/PRD partners, there are now more than 1,600 captive bred Panamanian golden frogs from two distinct localities managed with under a Species Survival PlanĀ® at over 50 AZA institutions in the U.S. and Canada, with numbers growing. Through breeding recommendations, population managers have been able to maintain a genetic diversity of over 90% of the captive golden frog population within AZA facilities.

The second edition of the PGF Husbandry Manual was produced in 2006, and has been used as a model for managing and breeding other Atelopus species worldwide.

Golden frog husbandry continues to be refined, building on earlier successes with this species. Environmental and management solutions are being found to facilitate females to successfully lay their eggs, to reduce post-laying mortality, to rearing large numbers of tadpoles, and to rearing targeted numbers of froglets successfully to adulthood. In addition, for females that have problems laying eggs in a timely fashion, appropriate hormonal protocols have been developed and refined. Maintaining females separate from males, except during breeding, is seen as key to achieving consistent success and a gravidity scale has been developed at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to help determine when females should be placed with males. Transfer of a successful golden frog recipe to all institutions holding this species will a priority in the near future.

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Institutions with Panamanian Golden Frogs

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