For the past few days, qathet residents have probably heard, quite suddenly, the cacophony of sound coming from forest, wetland and even urban areas.
The tiny, bright-emerald Pacific tree frog, with a conspicuous black stripe, is coming out of hibernation. The males are searching for a mate, and gather together to call in unison to attract a female; that’s what people are hearing right now.
“Apart from being really cool and a good singer, the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla), also known as the Pacific chorus frog, is also a very important species in all of the regions where it is found,” said Hugh Pritchard, director of Powell Lake Outdoor Learning Centre (School District 47) and project manager for Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS). “The Pacific tree frog is considered an [important] keystone species; many other species, such as garter snakes, depend upon its abundance as a prey item for their survival.
“At the Outdoor Learning Centre, spring is our favourite time of year, as these creatures can be found around our centre.”
Although the three-to-five-centimetre frog is quite abundant in BC and can use a variety of habitats, local biologist Andrew Bryant, who once led the recovery program for Vancouver Island marmots, said they still need intact forests.
Bryant believes qathet could be doing more to protect forests, for not only frogs, but birds and other species that live in the region.
According to BC FrogWatch, “although it is considered not to be of conservation concern [currently], populations may decline in the future, if the loss of wetlands continue.”
Pacific tree frogs are protected under the BC Wildlife Act.