Endangered Species Conflicts Loom in Texas

BASTROP — Near a glade of blackened pines, a Ph.D. student at Texas State University used microchip technology to search for an endangered Houston toad. Her device beeped as she held it over a carpet of pine needles, and after a bit of digging, a live toad emerged, half-buried in dirt.

The creature was waiting for warmer, wetter weather before mating, but its species’ future is grim. The huge wildfires that swept through Bastrop County last fall may wipe it out.

“That was an extinction-level event,” said Michael Forstner, a Texas State biology professor who is overseeing the toad research ...

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