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Josh’s Frogs was started for one simple reason – Josh liked frogs. He grew up catching them in a nearby swamp. Over time, this grew into a fascination with exotic species, and eventually led to a small collection of Poison Dart Frogs. In order to support his growing hobby, Josh began to purchase husbandry supplies in bulk and resell them. Over time, that business grew to the 50+ employee organization we are today.

That fascination with frogs has never left the company. If anything, each success breeding a new species and bringing healthy, captive bred animals to the masses has nurtured it and allow it to grow. One of our core values is conservation through commercialization – the idea that if we can produce animals in captivity at a low enough price point, we can reduce (and eventually eliminate) the demand for wild caught animals. The logical next step was to somehow link sales of captive bred animals directly with conserving populations in the wild. We first took that step 4 years ago.

Our first effort to directly fund conservation was with Mantellas – those colorful, poison dart frog-like anurans native to Madagascar. Many populations have been decimated by habitat loss, and, to a lesser extend, the pet trade. They are highly sought after in the pet industry, as they make attractive and simple to care for captives. Breeding can be challenging, as it is seasonal – making sure the adults receive the proper environmental cues to reproduce takes planning, and offspring are exceptionally small – some species are barely larger than a fruit fly when first leaving the water.

Fortunately, our success with the genus has increased over the past several years, and we’ve been able to donate hundreds of dollars directly to conservation in Madagascar through Operation Mitsinjo, and amphibian-centric non-profit based in Andosibe. This year, in lieu of cash, we sent some much needed supplies, including supplements, batteries, flashlights, and a mobile weather station.

This partnership will hopefully be one of many. Ultimately, our goal is to match each successful breeding program directly with in-situ conservation efforts. Until then, we’ll continue on supporting Mantella conservation and fulfilling the demand for exotic amphibians with healthy, captive bred stock, thus pushing pressure off of wild caught animals. Our hope is to keep wild animals where they belong – in the wild.

Photo © Brian Zoll