The Colorado Division of Wildlife is looking for volunteers interested in searching for boreal toads in the high country.-
Training for interested volunteers begins on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Division of Wildlife office in Salida.
"We need folks willing to hike into some of our high mountain lakes and ponds to determine which locations might have boreal toads," said Tina Jackson of the Division of Wildlife.-
Boreal toads are small amphibians that were once common throughout the southern Rocky Mountains. Their population has steadily declined over the past two decades and now they are considered an endangered species in Colorado and New Mexico, as well as a protected species in Wyoming.-
Boreal toads live at elevations between 7,000 and 12,000 feet above sea level. Due to the short summer season in the high country, volunteers are needed to assist researchers gather data from as many locations as possible.
Volunteers are trained over two sessions. The first session, on Thursday, is indoors and volunteers will learn how to identify boreal toads, or their tadpoles, and where to look.
The second session takes May 22 when Jackson will lead a field trip to a location where boreal toads are known to exist and provide hands-on training on how to identify the species and collect data.
Researchers believe the declines in boreal toads are related to infection by a fungus. The fungus invades the thin, permeable skin of amphibians and appears to kill them by interrupting their ability to absorb oxygen through their skin. The fungus is not dangerous to humans, but deadly to amphibians.
For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Raquel Stotler, Division of Wildlife area wildlife conservation biologist in Salida, at 719-530-5526 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jena Sanchez, Division of Wildlife volunteer coordinator in Colorado Springs, at 719-227-5204 or email@example.com; or visit http://wildlife.state.co.us.