Yosemite’s Resources Management and Science Division asks park vistors, driving vehicles this winter season, to be conscientious of migrating species.
This time of year brings the migration of the California red-legged frog and the Western pond turtle as they head from pond, river, and slack water to higher ground.
For decades the two species ceased to exist in Yosemite Valley and recently both species have been successfully reintroduced.
In the 1950’s, the non-native, highly invasive and predatory American Bullfrog was introduced to the Ahwahnee Hotel’s refection pond. The bullfrog’s presence marked the end for the California red-legged frog.
The Western Pond turtle’s decline began with the removal of large woody debris along the Merced River.
Over decades, those conditions were reversed. The invasive bullfrogs were eradicated, open refuse sites closed, and naturally occurring river and stream bank habitat was left in place.
The California red-legged frog, made famous by Mark Twain’s short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," may be seen crossing South Side Drive, between the El Capitan crossover and Yellow Pine Camp Ground or North Side Drive, between Half Dome Village and the Village Store.
The Western pond turtle will be migrating in the Tenaya Creek corridor, as well as Southside Drive around El Capitan meadow.
If driving in the Mirror Lake area stay on the look out for both pedestrian red-legged frogs and pond turtles.
When driving in Yosemite always remember to watch for migrating wildlife and drive the speed limit.