Since we began breeding Puerto Rican Crested Toads in 2012, Nashville Zoo has produced more than 25,000 tadpoles that have been shipped to Puerto Rico for release. “This project is the perfect example of how ex-situ (outside of the species range) conservation work at the Zoo can support in-situ (native habitat) conservation, and how zoos can directly impact species’ continued survival in the wild,” says Dale McGinnity, ectotherm curator.
In 2013, Nashville Zoo sent 3,774 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release.
In May 2014, Nashville Zoo, Toronto Zoo and San Antonio Zoo sent a total of 5,742 tadpoles for release at the Gabias’ Farm in Coamo, Puerto Rico. Of these 5,742 tadpoles, 4,492 were sent from Nashville Zoo.
In 2015, Nashville Zoo shipped 1,072 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for introduction into the Guanica Natural Habitat.
In 2018, Nashville Zoo shipped 958 tadpoles for release.
In 2019, Nashville Zoo staff successfully bred and shipped 3,463 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles for release.
In 2022, Nashville Zoo staff successfully bred and shipped 4,673 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles for release.
In addition to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Puerto Rican Wildlife Agencies, local school children participated in the release as part of the ongoing initiative to educate local citizens on Puerto Rican crested toad conservation.
Here at Nashville Zoo, adult Puerto Rican Crested Toads can be seen in the Unseen New World as part of the Amphibians in Crisis exhibits. The toads that are utilized for the release program are held in a bio-secure, off-exhibit facility, to ensure that there are no chances of transmitting exotic pathogens into their native habitat.