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Dr. Chris Hanley's Involvement With The Kihansi Spray Toad Release

Spray Toads Finally Home

An international, multi-institutional effort recently led to the return of the Kihansi spray toad to their home range. It was the culmination of over a decade of work, starting when the last 500 toads were brought into the U.S., representing the last chance for the species.

One of the veterinarians involved in the program was Dr. Chris Hanley. He was fortunate enough to be in Tanzania when the first 2,000 toads were returned to the Kihansi Gorge. "It was an amazing opportunity to play even a small role in this massive conservation undertaking that has culminated in the re-introduction of a species to their home range,” according to Chris.


A true collaboration between institutions; curators, animal care staff, veterinarians, pathologists, researchers, and technicians worked tirelessly to ensure the health of the toads while trying to unlock the secrets of this animal’s reproductive success. Chris reports "with adult toads weighing 3-4 grams, you definitely have to get creative with diagnostics and treatments.”

Once the keys to reproduction were worked out, the captive assurance population grew steadily. An unusual amphibian that bears live young instead of laying eggs, some toads were first brought back to propagation facilities in Tanzania in 2010.

 "To be part of something like this was a true honor. Everyone involved worked so hard and it paid off. I hope to be able to visit Tanzania and hear the call of the Kihansi spray toads where they belong – home,” stated Chris. 

The above photo is a Kihansi Spray toad. Then Chris and colleague, Ezekial Goboro examining the toads after their arrival in the Gorge just before their release. Both photos were taken by Andrew Odum.

This photo to the left is of the natural habitat of the toad. Sprinkler systems were installed to maintain the spray zone of the waterfall. The next photo, we see Chris Hanley releasing toads in the Kihansi Gorge. Courtesy of Kurt Buhlmann.


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