Volunteers needed for endangered species study | SummitDaily.com

Volunteers needed for endangered species study

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is looking for volunteers interested in searching for boreal toads in Colorado’s high country. Volunteer training begins on Thursday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the DOW office in Salida. 

“We need folks willing to hike into some of our high mountain lakes and ponds to determine which locations might have boreal toads,” said Tina Jackson of the DOW.

Boreal toads are small amphibians that were once common throughout the Southern Rocky Mountains. Their population has steadily declined over the past two decades, and now they are considered an endangered species in Colorado and New Mexico and as a protected species in Wyoming.

Boreal toads live at elevations between 7,000 – 12,000 feet above sea level. Due to the short summer season in the high country, volunteers are needed to assist researchers gather data from as many locations as possible.

Volunteers are trained in two sessions. The first session, May 13, is indoors. Volunteers will learn how to identify boreal toads, or their tadpoles, and where to look. The second session will take place Saturday, May 22 when Jackson will lead a field trip to a location where boreal toads are known to exist and provide hands-on training on how to identify the species and collect data.

Boreal toads are not the only amphibian disappearing. Amphibians around the globe are experiencing alarming declines. Of the 3,000-plus amphibian species in the Americas, 39 percent are threatened with extinction.

Researchers believe the declines are related to infection by a fungus. The fungus invades the thin, permeable skin of amphibians and appears to kill them by interrupting their ability to absorb oxygen through their skin.  The fungus is not dangerous to humans, but is deadly to amphibians.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact: Raquel Stotler, DOW Area Wildlife Conservation Biologist in Salida at (719) 530-5526 or raquel.stotler@state.co.us; or Jena Sanchez, DOW Volunteer Coordinator in Colorado Springs at (719) 227-5204 or jena.sanchez@state.co.us.

– Daily News staff report

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