Various ecological groups in the Rocky Mountain region have joined together to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to list the boreal toad as endangered.
Once populating much of the coniferous forests of the Western United States, the boreal toad’s numbers have plummeted in the last two decades. Currently, the amphibian is only found in 1% of its original breeding area in the Southern Rockies.
One of the groups participating in the suit is Biodiversity Conservation Alliance. Spokesman Duane Short says that the boreal toad serves as an important part of these ecosystems, where it eats many insects and other invertebrates, as well as feeds fish with its eggs.
"These are high elevation toads," Short says, "generally found above 8,500 feet, and you just don’t find many amphibians at above that level so they are quite unique in that sense."
The presence of chytrid fungus in the Southern Rockies could be contributing to the decline of many species of frogs and toads.