Walking in the Delta Nature Reserve? You might want to keep your eyes open for a special kind of frog.
This October, students on a field trip with the Burns Bog Conservation Society saw an unusual type of frog and took a photo. Now, after having the photo analyzed by the biologists in the provincial government, the conservation society has found out it’s a red-legged frog — an endangered species that was believed to have disappeared from Delta by the late 1990s.
“For me, this was an amazing example of how you can sometimes have something really rare and special right under your nose. You just have to be looking for it,” said Mark Robertson, education and research coordinator for the conservation society.
Northern red-legged frogs range from the California to Haida Gwaii, making their home in cool, forested regions. Although not officially threatened or extinct, the frog’s habitat is at risk from infrastructure development and urbanization. For protection — and to prevent the frogs from becoming a future endangered species — the frogs are listed as a species of special concern to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
Although the frogs aren’t extinct province-wide, they had been lost from Delta due to the increase of species like bullfrogs, Robertson said.
Now that the Burns Bog Conservation Society knows red-legged frogs do still live in the Delta Nature Reserve, they are asking residents to keep their eyes out for the re-discovered frog — especially in light of upcoming construction on nearby highways.
Construction on Highway 91, is “going to encroach a little bit into the Delta Nature Reserve. So we really want folks to be out there looking for these frogs before those works take place,” Robertson said.
“Because frankly, when those works take place, it could end up being the thing that actually does extirpate red-legged frogs from Delta for good.”
If you do see a red-legged frog — or any sort of unusual looking amphibian — jot down the time and location of the sighting, and get a picture if you can.
Do not touch or capture the frog. Not only is it against the law, because the frogs are a provincially protected species, but it could also harm the frogs that are left.
Sightings should be reported to the Burns Bog Conservation Society, to help build a database of where these frogs are in Delta and how many could be out there.