The endangered California red-legged frog breeds in the Santa Monica Mountains for the first time in 50 years – CBS Los Angeles

A THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) – An endangered species of frog has been found to breed independently in two locations badly burned by the Woolsey Fire in 2018, National Park Services biologists said Tuesday.

(Credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)

The California red-legged frog, classified as a federally threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and considered a particularly worrying species by the state of California, has not been bred in the wild since the 1970s, according to National Park Services. But a recent electricity survey revealed egg masses in two locations – one in Los Angeles County and one in Ventura County.

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“It was a welcome surprise,” said Katy Delaney, an ecologist who led the project at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in a statement.

Three egg masses were found at one location in Los Angeles County. A single egg mass was discovered in Ventura County a week after biologists found a female and a male frog. Four sites were established in 2014 and 2016 to reintroduce the species to the area, relocating eggs from a population discovered in the nearby Simi Hills.

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Each of the locations was badly burned by the devastating Woolsey Fire and then hit by mudslides that wiped out much of the frog’s habitat from deep breeding pools of year-round water and foliage. However, the tadpoles were found to have survived into adulthood at each location. The adult frogs in the first two locations have started to breed independently.

The frog’s habitat is currently in poor condition and very few frogs have been examined, National Park Service officials said. Frogs were breeding in one of the early locations, but after the Woolsey Fire, this is the first sign that the wild brood has resumed.

“Here we are two years later, and the streams have recovered enough to create ponds that the frogs must have liked,” Delaney said.

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Biologists conduct regular surveys for tadpoles and will keep an eye out for frogs later this summer, officials said.

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