The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog is reviving from its endangered status in Yosemite Park.
The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog is a native of the state of California. It has made a miraculous comeback from the edge of oblivion. The context in which it has made a revival is Yosemite National Park.
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This automatically raises the hopes of conservationists for the other amphibians around the globe. They too may be saved from becoming extinct. Many of these amphibians are dying at a brisk pace which could end in a tragic loss of biodiversity.
This particular species is 3 inches in length and famous for the coloring underneath its hind legs. There was a time when it was the most common amphibian in its habitat.
In fact, these frogs were so abundant that they leaped and ended up flooding the area whenever a person entered their habitat. A hundred years ago however these frogs began to decrease in their numbers.
That was due to the non-local trout which were eating them in record numbers. These trout had been introduced into the habitat for fishing purposes.
Later on conditions of disease spread and more of the frogs died leaving a dire scarcity. Over 90% of them had been wiped off the face of the area where they normally lived.
The campaign to repopulate the region with this species has been a success. In the past two decades, a sevenfold increase in the numbers of these frogs has led to a rebounding of their population.
While this is an important marker, the frog still has a long road to travel before it reaches its previous levels of abundance. For one thing, the trout have been removed, leading to the revival of the frog population.
Also the disease this species was vulnerable to has spread to the extent where the frogs have become immune to it. Their resistance in this regard has left them free of the malady which was a chytrid fungus.
In the past three odd decades, this disease had led to the extinction of over 200 of the amphibians of the world. Taking an example from the conservation efforts taken to reverse the decline of this frog species, other frogs in other regions of the world could also be saved from dying off in a similar manner.
This frog’s success story is one of the few that serves as a shining beacon of light in a world gone topsy turvy as far as Nature is concerned.
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The findings of this study appear in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.