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CPW works with graduate researchers to save endangered toads

Volunteers gathered at the trailhead of Brown’s Creek near Nathrop on Tuesday to help reintroduce about 5,600 endangered Boreal tadpoles to a nearby pond. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder to help save the species.

Tim Korpita is one of the Ph.D students at UC Boulder working on a solution containing living bacteria that fights off a fungus known as “BD.” Experts say the fungus is one of the main reasons populations of the Boreal toad have been declining.

“You know, there’s lots of bacteria on toad skin already,” Korpita said. “We’re just trying to get this bacteria we think that might be helpful on there.”

More than 40 volunteers, including CPW rangers, carried bags full of water and tadpoles up a three-mile hike, where they met with the graduate researchers.

Boreal toads are native to the southern Rocky Mountain region and have some unique qualities.

“They fulfill a really unique niche here in Colorado,” said Paul Foutz, a CPW aquatic biologist. “They’re the only high-mountain toad that’s found above 8,000 to 12,000 feet.

Volunteers came from different agencies and organizations like the Denver Zoo.

“I’ve been hiking and camping here all my life,” said Mark Edwards, a ranger with CPW. “It’s really powerful for me to be able to do something for Colorado state.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say they will be releasing the tadpoles into a secluded pond once they’ve been treated in the solution for 24 hours.

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