Back from the dead

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MIDWIFE TOADS: Were released into the mountainous wild.

BARCELONA Zoo has shipped 82 Mallorcan midwife toads to the island. 

The extremely vulnerable species is native to the Tramuntana mountains but are also bred in the mainland zoo to save them from extinction.

The toads were released into the mountainous wild after their arrival and will help repopulate the area. Until the late 1970s they were considered extinct by scientists, largely understood from fossil remains, but today there are roughly 500 breeding pairs in Mallorca.

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That improvement is thanks to the efforts of Barcelona Zoo, which has bred more than 1,500 toads since 1993. The Mallorca midwife (Alytes muletensis) is still classed as vulnerable but no longer endangered by the International Union for Conservation. 

The toad is a hardy creature with a history stretching back 155 million years. It has small warts on its back which can emit a poison so strong it can kill a snake. 

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