More than 4,000 Wyoming Toad tadpoles bred and hatched at Como Zoo recently were flown to a wildlife refuge in Wyoming, where they were released as part of a national effort to bolster the numbers of the rare species.

For the past three years Como has worked with other zoos around the country to breed adult toads and ship tadpoles to Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Laramie, where the toad was found in the late 1980s after scientists believed that it had gone extinct.

The toad is one of four endangered amphibians found in North America.

Como’s 30 adult toads, which are kept in laboratory aquariums, are watched daily by zookeeper Bree Barney. Como Friends, the zoo’s nonprofit partner, got the funding to buy a hibernation chamber for the toads and cover staff training for the project.

Barney will travel this week to Laramie to do field research and meet with representatives from other zoos working for the toad’s survival.

Kevin Duchschere