Wednesday night, nearly 3,000 undocumented citizens will fly into Puerto Rico to be unleashed on the island nation.
Fortunately, they’ll be invertebrates at the time.
The Oakland Zoo has bred nearly 3,000 Puerto Rican Crested Toads — a species that was thought to be extinct from 1931 to 1966 — and is shipping the tadpoles into Puerto Rico for safe release into closely monitored ponds in the Guanica National Forest.
The PRCT was the first amphibian to receive the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, in 1984. In coronation with the University of Puerto Rico and U.S. Fish & Wildlife, captive PRCTs are bred annually and released in their ancestral homeland.
The Oakland Zoo joined the program in 2014, shipping 732 tadpoles last year. Wednesday’s shipment tops that figure considerably, with nearly 3,000 little squirmies in the cargo hold of that Delta airlines flight. (Disney’s Animal Kingdom is another one of several zoos participating in the program; it is unclear if they also fly the toads through Delta.)