1996 32¢ Wyoming Toad
Issue Date: October 2, 1996
City: San Diego, CA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Since the Ice Age, the Wyoming toad has remained isolated around a series of ponds in the Laramie Basin of southeast Wyoming. Measuring just two inches long, it developed into a distinct subspecies with a unique crown on the top of its head.
Fossils suggest that the species could once be found abundantly throughout the area, but by 1986 the population was limited to one small pond. Although counts indicated there were about 200 toads, which is considered to be a fairly good breeding population, scientists realized a severe drought or unseasonably warm or cold winter could wipe out the entire population.
Unsure of the reasons for the toad’s disappearance, conservationists determined a captive-breeding program was the best way to protect the species and prevent its possible extinction. In 1992 a new breeding colony was established at the Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Healthy captive-bred toads were placed in a caged community at the edge of the refuge where they were able to successfully breed. Now scientists wait to see if sufficient offspring are able to survive predators, harsh weather, and potential problems from inbreeding. Not until there are five or six successful breeding sites will the survival of the species be considered secure.