Taronga Leaps for frogs on the 29th!
Wednesday 29th February 2012

This year’s Leap Day, on February 29th, we’re hopping into Amphibian Ark’s Leap Day 2012 to spot light some of the success stories we have to tell about our frog conservation programs.

Did you know that Taronga has programs for six endangered and vulnerable Australian frog species?

Booroolong Frog
Alpine Tree Frog
Yellow-Spotted Bell Frog
Northern Corroboree Frog
Southern Corroboree Frog
Green and Golden Bell Frog

Just over a month ago, our Frog keepers released over 6,000 Zoo-bred Green and Golden Bell Frog tadpoles at Woonona, south of Sydney. For generations that frog’s call has been heard across Sydney, but sadly in the past few decades it has disappeared from over 90% of its habitat. The good news is that by releasing such a large number of Zoo-bred tadpoles, we are giving the species the best chance of survival.

Michael McFadden, our Reptile and Amphibian Supervisor, says that Taronga has now bred 26,000 of Green and Golden Bell Frogs and tadpoles for reintroduction to the wild since 1994. The great news is that even  more tadpoles are scheduled to be bred-for-release later in the year.

Michael said that a breeding program is also under way for the Yellow-spotted Bell Frog. You might have read about this frog in the news as it was thought to be extinct for 30 years, but was rediscovered in the Southern Highlands just two years ago. Taronga now has a small insurance population which Michael and his team hopes to breed in the near future.

It’s not just Taronga’s Keepers that have been busy lending a hand to help our frogs out. Our Education team is also playing an important role, getting school children involved in designing community awareness campaigns to engage their local communities to spread the word and do their bit to protect frog habitat.

The take away message this Leap Year is … lots of frogs is a sign of a healthy environment, and sadly nearly one third of all known Australian frog species are in varying stages of decline. But there are easy things you can do to help:

-          Don’t use herbicides or pesticides

-          Build a frog pond in your back garden

-          Reduce, re-use and recycle – every bit helps the environment

Find out about more positive wildlife actions you can take here.

Caring for Taronga's Critically Endangered Frogs

Reptile Supervisor, Michael McFadden
Each morning at Taronga, the first animals I check are our most critically endangered frogs, firstly to maintain the vital quarantine of these animals so later we can return their offspring to the wild.