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The Boreal toad is now on the endangered species list. Native to Colorado, the toads are found at higher elevations (above 8000 feet) and have experienced a rapid decline in numbers over the last 25 years, due in part to a deadly fungus, and surely, habitat depletion and/or degradation. The Colorado Department of Wildlife recently completed a Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility near my home town of Alamosa, Colorado. This facility has had great success in hatching out clutches of toad egg masses from various population sites and raising these tadpoles into young adult toads. The intention of this "head start" program is to provide and maintain a large number of captive stock from as many populations as possible in order to ensure the integrity of the genetic diversity of each population through controlled breeding and release programs. My family and I were included in a tour of the facility, allowing an up-close interview with these little toads. Their intermediate home consisted of several partially filled bathtubs, elevated at one end with a heat lamp to huddle under. Evidently, the warm spot was prime real estate, and to my artistic delight, I snapped several photos of toad piles. I'm still smilin'.

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