An endangered Puerto Rican toad was, for the first time, born through in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists try to save it from extinction, officers introduced Friday.
The group, which included scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources, amongst others, preserved the semen in liquid nitrogen as they transported it to the Fort Worth Zoo, where a few female toads injected with hormones awaited.
Efforts to save lots of the Puerto Rican crested toad date back a couple of decades, however, that is the first time in vitro fertilization was used, in accordance with Armando Otero, interim secretary of the island’s Department of Natural Resources. To arrange the toads for successful reproduction, scientists expose them to cooler temperatures for about three months and sometimes will even re-create rain, Barber stated.
Of the more than 300 toads that had been born by way of in vitro, 100 had been sent to different zoos with captive breeding programs, and the remaining 200 might be sent to Puerto Rico in December by way of FedEx to be launched into the wild. Many of the population lives within the southern half of the U.S. territory, with no northern toads spotted since 1992.
However, considerations are rising about their capability to outlive climate change. Within the southwest coastal town of Guánica, the place the population stays most secure, rising sea levels are threatening their habitat, Barber stated. The toads stay close to the beach, and scientists fear that in upcoming years, saltwater will seep into the ponds they use for breeding.
The toad’s wild population in Puerto Rico is estimated anywhere from 300 to 3,000, Barber stated, including that they are very cryptic.