Hero of the Week: Ian Recchio

Ian Recchio, wades into an amphibian tank at the L.A. Zoo, where he leads a captive breeding program for endangered frogs. Image: Brian van der Brug / LA Times

 

California’s native southern mountain yellow-legged frog is an endangered species and Ian Recchio, the LA Zoo’s curator of reptiles and amphibians, is out to save it. As the LA Times reported, “named for the bright yellow on their undersides, southern mountain yellow-legged frogs once thrived in hundreds of streams cascading down the high mountains that surround Los Angeles. But since the 1960s, nonnative trout, bullfrogs and crayfish have decimated these frogs. So have wildfires, extreme weather and hotter stream temperatures linked to climate change.”

At the LA Zoo, Recchio runs a program (nicknamed the Frog Shack) that mimics the very specific conditions these frogs need to survive and each year hatches hundreds of new tadpoles each year. About 900 of this year’s crop are scheduled to be released this week in a creek where they’d been absent for half a century–all thanks to Recchio’s tireless work to keep this native species from going extinct.

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