PRCT's conservation work began in 1980, when Dr. Juan Rivero of the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez collected four northern crested toads and donated them to the zoos of Puerto Rico. Toads were bred at the zoo, and their offspring were sent to the Buffalo and Brookfield zoos. In 1985, Prdner collected twenty toads from the Guanica Commonwealth Forest and sent them to the Toronto Zoo. The northern and southern populations were kept separately in captivity, and these toads and their offspring formed the nucleus of the AZA SSP population.
Reintroduction began with the modest efforts of a few individuals and four zoological institutions, when little is known about the natural history and breeding requirements of this species. Between 1982 and 1989, fewer than 1,300 toads were released in the northern areas of Quebradillas and Cambalache, as well as in the southern forests of Guanica. It is believed that none of these populations has been successfully identified. Later protocols were adapted by releasing tadpoles instead of toads to reduce the likelihood of predation and allow developing tadpoles/toads to imprint in ponds and return as adults to reproduce.
By 1992, reintroduction efforts had expanded significantly with the construction of an artificial pond in Manglillo Grande that could be controlled and maintained by prdner and accommodate thousands of captive tadpoles. Over time, additional information was obtained about the biology and requirements for breeding this species in captivity, which allowed more institutions to participate in recovery efforts by successfully breeding prct and releasing offspring. Additional reintroduction ponds were built with partners, and now SSP participants have sent more than 300,000 tadpoles to Puerto Rico to create new populations in six locations around the island.
Video of newly released toadlets feeding: