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Kihansi spray toads make historic return to Tanzania
Date:8/17/2010

facility."

"This is an important step that has been achieved through a lot of hard work. The Bank has financed Tanzania's commitment to save the Kihansi Spray Toad (KST) for nearly a decade, and has been looking forward to a successful reintroduction, which will be a measure of the recovery of the ecosystem and the success of the Lower Kihansi Environmental Management Project (LKEMP). While we remain optimistic about a successful reintroduction, we acknowledge individual and collective efforts and commitment of all players in this project from within and outside Tanzania," said Jane Kibbassa, Task Team Leader for LKEMP.

The Kihansi spray toad's unique odyssey began shortly after the species was first discovered in 1996 living in a five acre micro-habitat created by the spray of nearby waterfalls in the Kihansi Gorge.

In 1999, the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the gorge dramatically changed the Kihansi spray toad's habitat. Although this dam is vital to the Tanzanian economy in that it generates one-third of Tanzania's total electrical supply, its construction reduced the original size of the Kihansi falls to 10 percent of its former flow, drastically lessening the mist zone in which the toads thrived.

Following an agreement between WCS and the Tanzanian government and with funding from the World Bank, which constructed the dam, scientists and Tanzanian officials collected an assurance colony of 499 Kihansi spray toads from the gorge.

The toad was last seen in the wild in 2004, and in 2009 the toad was declared to be extinct in the wild by the by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Today, 5,000 toads live at The Toledo Zoo and 1,500 reside at the Bronx Zoo. Both zoos will continue breeding and exhibiting the animals, returning additional shipments to Tanzania as their numbers rebound.

The Tanzanian government has been managing the Lower Kihansi Environment Management Pro
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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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Kihansi spray toads make historic return to Tanzania
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