The identification and recovery of endangered species is difficult because of their rarity, the continuing threats to their survival, and inadequate funding for research and conservation. There have been some success stories, but also a number of failures. Have biologists learned from our failures, or are we repeating the same mistakes? While habitat availability and cost are important limitations to species recovery, other, more easily addressed issues also hamper recovery programs. The Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri) is an endangered species whose recovery has been stalled by problems that are common to species recovery efforts, especially for animals without significant “charisma.” I summarize the research undertaken on the Wyoming toad since its listing, highlight the difficulties in building a scientifically based recovery program, and identify some of the unmet challenges impeding recovery. Although specific to the Wyoming toad, these recommendations are relevant to recovery programs facing similar issues.
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Vol. 56 • No. 9