In 2008, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens opened the Save The Frogs! Amphibian Conservation Center to join the fight in saving the world’s fragile amphibian species. Rather than a typical animal exhibit, this building is a lab environment where visitors can see directly what JZG is doing to assist the world’s ailing amphibian populations.

Striped Newts
Notophthalmus perstriatus
Following the extirpation of the Striped Newt in Apalachicola National Forest, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) and Memphis Zoo teamed together to help breed and release these fragile animals back into their native habitat.  
One of the rooms in the Save The Frogs! building houses these newts. Since 2013, JZG has released 1,065 newts back into the ephemeral pools in which they live. After the breeding program’s inception, other institutions including Central Florida Zoo, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Detroit Zoo have joined our small, but impactful coalition to save this threatened amphibian.
This year, we received news of the newts we released breeding in the wild! When a team returned to the field site, they found multiple newt larvae in the waters in which they breed.

Striped newt - adult
Striped newt larvae found in pools where captive adults were released
Striped newt larva

Puerto Rican Crested Toad
Bufo lemur

Many people are familiar with the famous Coqui from Puerto Rico, but if you visit the western side of the island you may (or may not) come across the critically endangered Puerto Rican Crested Toad (PRCT, or Sapo Concho). The only toad native to Puerto Rico, the PRCT has succumbed to habitat loss and introduced species such as the marine toad.
JZG is one of 20 AZA zoos that help breed this toad in our facility and sending the tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release. This ‘head start’ program for the tadpole
s helps increase their chances of survival against the invasive species on the tiny island. Since JZG joined the program in 2008, we have released about 4,500 tadpoles. This year alone has proven to be a great year – sending over 3,700 back to their native pools in Puerto Rico. For detailed information in the entire project, visit the Puerto Rican Crested Toad SSP website.

PRCTs in amplexus
PRCTs in amplexus with strings of eggs.