The Oregon spotted frog is an endangered species in Canada.
Growing up, Darren S.’s house was a zoo – literally. He kept lots of animals, including snakes, bearded dragons and iguanas in every nook and cranny of his house, even in the dining room, which was essentially converted into a vivarium.
Darren has his dad to thank for nurturing his interest in animals. And what did his mom think of all these animals taking over her home? “She didn’t have much say,” he says with a laugh.
After moving to Vancouver from his native England, he became the biologist responsible for the amphibians at the Aquarium. This includes the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa), which is an endangered species in Canada because of habitat loss. According to Darren, they are only found in three locations in B.C.
Darren is directly involved with the conservation of this species through the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Team, a provincial initiative, which includes biologists and First Nations representatives. As part of its conservation effort, Oregon spotted frogs are bred at the Aquarium and the tadpoles are released into Fraser Valley marsh areas in order to supplement wild populations. Last spring, about 3,000 tadpoles were released, but Darren expects more will be released this year.
This year’s breeding program is being supported by the Earth Ranger’s Bring Back the Wild program.
With the success of the Oregon spotted frog program, Darren says the plan is to start doing the same thing with other species as well, such as the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens).
In breeding and rearing Oregon spotted frogs, Darren has been able to learn more about their behaviour. Darren has learned after many, many hours of observation that they only vocalize under the water (he says it sounds like someone knocking on wood.)
A newly discovered behaviour on top of a conservation award… not bad for the lizard kid from England.