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Red-legged Frog (Rana Aurora)

Existing Protection or Other Status

The Red-legged Frog has the global heritage status of G4T4 (“apparently secure”, both for the species R. aurora and for the subspecies R. a. aurora). In the United States, its national heritage status is N4 (“apparently widespread”; designated in November 1996). Its status in the different states is as follows: California S2? (“imperiled?”); Oregon S3 (“vulnerable to extirpation or extinction”); Washington S4 (“apparently widespread”) (NatureServe 2003).

In Canada the species was listed federally as “special concern” by COSEWIC in 2002. Under the new Species At Risk Act (SARA), there are no immediate habitat protection requirements for species with this status. A management plan is required, but the guidelines for these plans have not yet been released (K. Nelson, pers. comm.). To date (August 2003), efforts in British Columbia have focused on meeting the requirements for species listed as threatened, endangered, or extirpated, for which a recovery plan is mandatory under SARA (RENEW 2003).

In British Columbia, the Red-legged Frog is on the provincial blue list of species at risk. Blue-listed species are “taxa of Special Concern” that “have characteristics that make them particularly sensitive or vulnerable to human activities or natural events” (BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer 2003). As a result of the COSEWIC assessment, Rana aurora was added to the list of Identified Wildlife included in the identified Wildlife Management Strategy (IWMS) Version 2004. IWMS Version 2004 contains specific guidelines for management of Red-legged Frog habitat. Because much of the Canadian distribution of the Red-legged Frog coincides with lands used for forestry, these management guidelines are potentially of critical importance for protecting this species. However, these guidelines are not applicable to a large area of private forestry lands on southeastern Vancouver Island.

The British Columbia Wildlife Act prohibits the collection, possession, and trade of all native vertebrates, including amphibians. This law has limited effectiveness in protecting frogs, because it difficult to enforce and does not cover damage to habitats.