Press Release Courtesy of Northwest Trek
Kris Sherman: 253-404-3800; 253-226-6718 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitney DalBalcon: 253-404-3637 or email@example.com
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF WESTERN TOADS EMERGE FROM WETLAND POND AT NORTHWEST TREK WILDLIFE PARK AS PROGRAM CONTINUES TO AID THIS ‘SPECIES OF CONCERN’
EATONVILLE, Wash. – Tens of thousands of fragile Western toads – each smaller than a pinkie fingernail – are hopping out of a wetland pond at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and making their way into the forest to begin new lives.
The annual mass migration is both mesmerizing and gratifying for Northwest Trek staff members and volunteers who work hard to restore wetlands and wildlife habitat in the zoological park, said conservation program coordinator Jessica Moore.
Western toads during their 2009 migration.
Their reproductive capability is nothing short of amazing.
“Anywhere from a dozen to four dozen adult toads come out of the forest and into the pond to breed in late March or early April,” Moore said. One female can lay an average of 8,000 to 10,000 eggs. Once they’re fertilized and hatched, there are literally tens of thousands of new lives.
The tadpoles eventually metamorphose into tiny toads and begin their migration onto land.
They won’t all survive. The Western toads face predators and perils as they make their way into a world of ever shrinking habitat for what is “a species of concern in Washington,” Moore said.
The Northwest Trek pond – which is not on public view – is one of a very few Western toad breeding sites in Pierce County.
Northwest Trek acquired the wetland when it expanded its boundaries seven years ago.
“Providing the habitat that enables these tiny toads to breed and grow fits in well with our conservation mission,” Moore said.
Northwest Trek, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is a 725-acre zoological park dedicated to conservation, education and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native Northwest wildlife and their natural habitats. The wildlife park is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma and is located 35 miles southeast of Tacoma off State Highway 161.