Panamanian Golden Frog Breeding Program

With the current amphibian extinction crisis sweeping the planet, arguably no other group of animals stands more to gain from zoo conservation than amphibians -- thus the implementation of the Panamanian Golden Frog Breeding Program. This program is spearheaded by Living Collections Team Lead Kayleigh Kisner and cared for by the Discovery Zone Team. The Panamanian golden frog is the national animal of Panama, and for good reason. They are a brilliant golden color, thought to bring good luck, and not only live in wet rain forests but also in the dry cloud forests of the Cordilleran Mountains of Panama. They secrete toxins that are so potent and unique that scientists have defined the Panamanian golden frog as a distinct species. Unfortunately for the Panamanian golden frog, the species is now considered extinct in the wild. There have been many contributing factors to this frog’s demise, including illegal pet trade and habitat destruction, but the spread of chytrid fungus is what ultimately destroyed the Panamanian golden frog wild populations. The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium has been housing male and female Panamanian golden frogs since 2014 and is now beginning a breeding program. Through zoo efforts, this species has a viable captive breeding population so that these animals will be able to be released back into their native habitat in the near future.

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