Scientists have been treating young boreal toads to protect them from a deadly fungus.

(Jeff Mitton)

Scientists at CU Boulder think bathing Boreal toads in a purple-colored bacteria could protect them from possible extinction. 

The toads, which live in streams above 7,000 feet in the Western U.S. and Canada, have been dying off in the past three decades due to a deadly fugus known as chytrid.  To treat them, researchers having been bathing juvenile toads in bacteria derived from their own skin.

A study found the treatment -- dubbed "Operation Purple Rain" by scientists -- increased the survival rate of the toads by 40 percent. 

Valerie McKenzie, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at CU Boulder, led the study. She spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.