GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Twenty-three years after it was first proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, the Oregon spotted frog is being listed as a threatened species.
For the past decade, Oregon Zoo has been including the species in its captive propagation/conversation conservation program, in which they take egg masses from the wild and raise the frogs from egg-stage to semi-adulthood (generally killing hundreds of them in the process) – and then release the few dozen survivors back into the wild. As a rule, the release is accompanied by media fanfare, showing these dedicated professionals at the release site, after which their lead conversation conservation researcher describes the importance of what’s being done without ever mentioning the mortality rate.
In point of fact, inmates at a Washington state prison have a far greater record of success than Oregon Zoo in raising and releasing the species, so you might think it’d be a better use of resources to simply contribute equipment and a sum of cash equal to the amount spent by the zoo on field trips and staff time to the folks with demonstrated success. You would, of course, be wrong.
The project generates PR, which the zoo uses extensively in its propaganda educational outreach and donation efforts to drive home their important work in the preservation of biodiversity. Now that the frogs are actually listed as threatened, it will be interesting to see whether or not the organization is held accountable at some point regarding their inept management of the “conservation effort”.