photo: Vance Vredenburg
I wrote about the plight of California frogs back in August as a result of a pesticide cloud blowing into California's Sierra Mountains, deforming and killing off California's Pacific tree frogs and foothill yellow-legged frogs. Now another threat to California's frog population comes in the form of a non-native fish.The population of mountain yellow-legged frogs (different from foothill yellow-legged frogs) in California has dropped a dramatic 90 percent and one of the most vicious culprits is a species of non-native trout that are eating all of the tadpoles before they can mature into frogs. The trout are being dropped from airplanes into naturally fishless ponds and lakes by the thousands to support an extensive fishing industry.
This is similar to the threat coming from non-native bull frogs that are eating the red-legged frogs in places like Calaveras County, Calif. As a result of the threat, The Save the Frogs Campaign is appealing to the National Park Service for the removal of trout from two naturally fishless lakes in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park and to California Department of Fish and Game to suspend the stocking of these lakes and ponds. This is supposedly one of the last remaining strongholds for the species in the state. The California Department of Fish and Game is open to public comments on the matter until November 30.
The two other most serious threats to the mountain yellow-legged frog population are the pesticides written about above as well as the chytrid fungus. It's a potentially lethal skin disease which has been detected in at least 385 species of amphibians from 36 countries according to the Save the Frogs Web site.