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Tuesday, 15 August 2017 07:00

Biosphere Reserve officials hope to successfully re-introduce the Northern Leopard Frog into Waterton

Written by  Demi Knight
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A Northern Leopard Frog found in Waterton Lakes National Park. A Northern Leopard Frog found in Waterton Lakes National Park. Photo by Waterton Biosphere Reserve

Waterton Lakes National Park officials have begun the process of trying to re-introduce the once historically present Northern Leopard Frog within its Biosphere Reserve.

After a Species At Risk action plan was launched a few years ago, the Northern Leopard Frog was identified as a natural inhabitant of the Waterton Biosphere that would help with the growth and management of other wetland species.
Nora Manners, executive director of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association, says there’s many important factors involved with bringing back the Northern Leopard Frog to Waterton as well as a high chance of healthy areas for the frogs to thrive.
“They’re part of bio diversity, they contribute to ecosystem integrity,” she says. “Amphibians are one of the most threatened groups planet wise and they’re important for the health of wetland ponds. Anywhere that has wetland habitat could be potential homes as we have healthy populations of other amphibians and we’ve had populations of the Northern Leopard frogs before here.”
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association is working with members of the public to successfully reintroduce this breed of frog into their ecosystem by asking people for input on their current and previous knowledge of the amphibian.
“We want to find good habitats or people who think they may be housing Leopard Frogs on their land. We’re encouraging people to reach out to us and let us know. We don’t expect that there are a lot out there because they have gone back to places where they used to be, but even if we can work with two or three people to find suitable places, then we want to provide opportunity in case there are existing populations people may know about.”
 Beginning in April, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve has been asking members of the public to send in any information they have on locations of possible habitats or sites of the Northern Leopard Frog and submit them by email to: nleopard This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Manners says so far they have had some helpful input from people around the area regarding good habitats.
“We’ve had half a dozen people who have responded. People who think they have them, or have good habitats for them, so it’s going pretty positively so far. It’s been done with species at risk before.”
The project was introduced due to the importance of amphibians within certain ecosystems, thanks to their ability to control insects that can carry disease to other organisms, as well as limiting algae growth and oxygen depletion in wetland environments.
The Northern Leopard Frog is often described as the largest frog found within Alberta with a green or brown appearance and white belly. They are usually found along the edge of waterbodies such as ponds, lakes, and marshes.
The most active season these frogs are found is between April and October in both the warm and wet weather and is the reason this plan is springing into action now. 
 Officials with the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association are hoping they can find success in re-introducing this at-risk species back into the ecosystem, due to the positive results found by Beauvais Lake Provincial Park and Magrath over the past several years with the Northern Leopard Frog.

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