|Parks and Protected Areas
Suffield National Wildlife Area - Species At Risk
Sixteen federally listed species at risk depend on the habitat within the Suffield National Wildlife Area. Nearly 80 provincially listed species are found here as well. You can learn about some of these species below!
Special Concern (SARA)
Visit a shallow pond or ditch on a summer night in the Prairies, and you might be treated to the metallic trill of the Great Plains Toad. This moderately large toad, which is primarily nocturnal, ranges in length from 45 to 114 millimetres. A single female toad can lay as many as 20,000 eggs at once.
The Great Plains Toad has an extensive range in western North America and the northern half of Mexico. In Canada, it occurs in the southeastern grasslands of Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.
At the Suffield National Wildlife Area, home to a large portion of Alberta’s population of this species, large, shallow, seasonal wetlands provide ideal breeding sites. The toad burrows into the soil beneath the surface of the water during periods of drought.
Human activity may be slowly reducing the availability and quality of habitat for the Great Plains Toad. Some key threats include the loss and alteration of wetlands, the conversion of grasslands to cropland, and intensive use of breeding area ponds by livestock.
Where to find the Great Plains Toad:
Special Concern (SARA)
The Northern Leopard Frog is an extraordinary leaper! In a single bound, it can cover 1.8 metres. This is 15 times the length of its body, which is between approximately 50 and 110 millimetres.
The Northern Leopard Frog favours cool temperatures. The frogs found in the Suffield National Wildlife Area belong to the Western/Boreal population, which occurs in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
A semi-aquatic species, the Northern Leopard Frog uses three distinct habitats for breeding, foraging and overwintering. After breeding in the warm, shallow waters of marshes, ditches and other waterbodies, it can travel up to two kilometres to forage in moist habitats such as meadows, scrublands or drainage ditches. In winter, the frog is attracted to deep, permanent waterbodies that do not freeze solid. Frogs have been found hibernating in the muddy bottom of ponds up to three metres below the ice.
Human activities that destroy or modify the Northern Leopard Frog’s various habitats can eliminate a local population. So too can changes in land use that prevent the frogs’ critical movement between habitats. Drainage of wetlands and disturbance of frog habitat by livestock are two particular threats.
Where to find the Northern Leopard Frog: