Southern California -- this just in

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Near-extinct frog coming back in Southern California

July 27, 2009 |  8:53 am


Once, the sweet croaking sound of the mountain yellow-legged frog could be heard in various spots of Southern California. Then modernity all but wiped it out.

Now, the frog seems to be making a comeback, with help from mankind.

As The Times' Louis Sahagun reported recently, a frog was discovered in the Tahquitz Creek area of the San Jacinto Mountains. Another discovery was made about two miles away, suggesting a possible colony in the making. (Other extant colonies are more bunched up.)

Now, the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research reports the first successful breeding of the frog in captivity. The long-range plan is to release captive-breed frogs into the wild.

"It's a big boost," said Jeff Lemm, research coordinator at the institute. "We need all the animals we can get."

The institute has several dozen eggs that it hopes to mature. The Los Angeles Zoo, Fresno Chaffee Zoo and the Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park in Palm Desert are being brought into the save-the-frog project.

The state Department of Fish and Game also is working to restore habitat friendly to the mountain yellow-legged frog.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Mountain yellow-legged frog bred in captivity. Credit: San Diego Zoo