Northern Leopard Frogs, Vancouver Aquarium photo
VANCOUVER -- Scientists at the Vancouver Aquarium have sprung into action, as part of an effort to prevent an endangered frog population from becoming extinct in eastern British Columbia.
The Rocky Mountain population of northern leopard frogs plummeted by the millions in the 1970s, and only two populations are now known to exist near Creston, in B.C.'s West Kootenay region.
The aquarium announced Thursday its scientists have, for the first time in Canada, bred the species in an aquarium setting and created an assurance -- or backup -- population.

He said the frogs are expected to become the third Rocky Mountain population of northern leopard frogs in the province.
"Frogs, in general, are facing probably the largest extinction since the dinosaurs right now," said Thoney. "Of the 6,000 species, a third to more are threatened or endangered now."

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to reintroduce the northern leopard frog into the Columbia Marshes," said David Hillary of the Kootenay Conservation Program.
His organization worked with the regional district and the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund to generate seed money for the project, said Hillary who noted a contractor from Kimberley, B.C., will release the tadpoles.
The Columbia Marshes are the best-possible site to reintroduce the frogs and will give the amphibians the best opportunity for a viable population, he added.
Meantime, the aquarium will keep adults and tadpoles at the aquarium and will try to acquire a few more to maintain genetic diversity, said Thoney, adding the program is expected to last at least about 10 years.
"It's not inexpensive," he said, noting the program costs thousands of dollars. "Well, it's hard to put a price on a species, right?"