Northern Leopard Frog Reintroduction - Year 4 (2002)
The northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) was once a common and widespread amphibian found throughout central and southern Alberta. During the late 1970s, the leopard frog experienced a dramatic decline in distribution and numbers over much of its historic range in Alberta and is currently designated as Threatened under Alberta's Wildlife Act.
The leopard frog has demonstrated little ability to naturally repopulate historical parts of its range. As a result, in 1998, the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division began to explore the feasibility of reintroducing leopard frogs into habitats within their historical range in the upper Red Deer River and North Saskatchewan River drainages. With the information gathered, the Alberta Conservation Association initiated a pilot reintroduction project in 1999 at the Raven Brood Trout Station near Caroline, Alberta. The project involves the captive rearing of leopard frogs from egg stage of development to metamorphosed frog, in two man-made outdoor ponds at the Raven Brood Trout Station.
To date nearly 10,000 captive-reared leopard frogs have been released at designated sites near Caroline, Rocky Mountain House, and Red Deer, Alberta. All frogs were marked using a Visible Implant Elastometer tagging system prior to release, allowing researchers to monitor the dispersal of released frogs. Frog observations and evidence of breeding activity indicate preliminary success of the project at the initial release site near Caroline and 2001 pilot release site near Rocky Mountain House.