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Celebrating Conservation: Chico Creek Nature Center's New Frog Ambassadors

April 10, 2024

A red frog next to a log in a terrarium with mossy bedding.
California red-legged frog at the Chico Creek Nature Center

The Chico Creek Nature Center is thrilled to announce the arrival of seven California red-legged frogs (Rana draytonii) from the San Francisco Zoo. These frogs, received under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, will play a vital role in educational programs at the Nature Center.

"We are honored that the San Francisco Zoo has entrusted us with the care of these amazing animals," said Animal Care Director Kurt Geiger. "While they require special attention due to noticeable physical differences during the tadpole stage, they are in good health and will be a valuable addition to our educational efforts."

The frogs are part of a cohort legally collected from Bear Creek Pond in Garden Valley, El Dorado County, California, and were collected under Yosemite National Park’s recovery permit. In the care of the San Francisco Zoo’s head starting program through the metamorphosis phase, it was determined by veterinary staff and amphibian experts that their likelihood of survival in the wild was low to non-existent due to their malformations.

As a result, the seven red-legged frogs will not be released into the wild. Instead, they have been transferred to the Chico Creek Nature Center, where they will be housed and cared for with attention to their mobility needs.

Two frogs on moss, one brownish-red, the other speckled, against a natural backdrop.
Lacking in footpads due to malformations, the red-legged frogs are considered non-releasable

Mikaela Wiley, a former Animal Care Volunteer at the Nature Center, who now works at the San Francisco Zoo, played a crucial role in arranging for the frogs to be housed at the Nature Center. "I knew the Nature Center could greatly benefit from such awesome animals from an educational point of view," said Wiley. "And that they would be well taken care of by Kurt and his team. I'm going to miss them, but I'm so excited they made it to their forever home!"

These frogs, like all animals at the Nature Center's Janeece Webb Living Animal Museum, will serve as animal ambassadors, aiding in educating visitors in various programs and camps about conservation efforts and endangered species. California red-legged frogs are endangered and have faced significant population declines primarily due to habitat loss, pollution, and the introduction of non-native species.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore their habitats and populations. Organizations like the San Francisco Zoo are dedicated to reintroducing the red-legged frogs back into the wild, emphasizing the importance of collaborative conservation efforts in preserving our natural biodiversity.

Children sitting on the floor watching a person holding a clear container, possibly for an educational demonstration.
The red-legged frogs will be used in educational programs, such as field trips & camps

"We are thrilled to provide a home for these frogs," said Francesca Shaffer, Nature Center Recreation Coordinator. "Their presence will greatly enhance our educational programs and help raise awareness about the importance of conservation efforts for endangered species."

The frogs will be the star of the Nature Center’s April event, April Amphibians, this Saturday, April 13th featuring special guest speaker Mikaela Wiley. Two sessions are available, 11 AM–12 PM, and another from 12:30–1:30 PM at the Janeece Webb Living Animal Museum, 1968 East 8th Street in Chico. The event is free, although registration is required. Learn more at

Come visit the red-legged frogs at the Janeece Webb Living Animal Museum, open Friday & Monday from 10 AM–1 PM, and Saturday & Sunday from 10 AM–3 PM. For more information and updates about the Chico Creek Nature Center, please visit the official website at and follow the Nature Center on Facebook and Instagram @ChicoCreekNatureCenter.



About Chico Area Recreation & Park District

Founded in 1948, the Chico Area Recreation & Park District (CARD) is a California Special District focused on creating recreational opportunities that bring friends and families together to have fun and build lasting memories. CARD manages and cares for more than 15 community and neighborhood parks, four community centers, one swimming pool, the Chico Creek Nature Center, and more. The PLAY Activity Guide highlights the numerous sports, classes, camps, special events, and more CARD offers. Learn more about CARD at