Biologists experiment to save threatened red-legged frogs

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By Debra Preitkis Jones

The iconic red-legged frog, California's state amphibian, was almost wiped out at Yosemite National Park because of natural and man-made enemies. Now, the San Francisco Zoo is making history by breeding a new generation of the amphibian in captivity, and the biologists there are hoping to create a model for other threatened species.

NBC’s Steve Patterson visited the zoo to see the groundbreaking experiment up close, and the frogs are now ready to take their first leap back into Yosemite. Zoo biologists embed tracking chips in the frogs’ skin to track their lives in the wild, and there is new evidence that the experiment is working. For the first time, biologists are finding the frogs’ eggs, which is a sign they are breeding in park once again.

The experiment is a unique partnership between the park, the zoo and the Yosemite Conservancy. These biologists are hoping that they have found the missing piece to the ecology puzzle that is threatening species around the world.