Last week, frog specialists from Taronga Zoo, NSW National Parks, Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary gathered in the frosty alpine region of Mount Kosciuszko to help ensure the survival of the Critically Endangered Corroboree Frog.
Only a few months ago staff were out in the same alpine meadows collecting frog eggs from wild. These eggs were taken back to a specially-designed refrigerated habitat at Taronga Zoo to ensure they have the highest possible chance of survival. Now it was time to put these eggs back along with eggs bred in zoo care so that they can hatch as tadpoles before the snow season begins.
The eggs, smaller than a pea, receive five star treatment throughout their journey including helicopter flights into the release sites. A total of 408 eggs was placed into special tubs designed to reduce the contamination of Chytrid Fungus for the tadpoles and young frogs. It is this fungus which has caused the rapid decline of the species in the wild so every step is taken to reduce contact between the fungus and frog. The tadpoles are left in the tubs over the winter months and will eventually evolve into frogs when the weather starts to warm up and the snow melts. The tubs are designed so that at this stage they are free to climb out and join the wild population of frogs in the damp moss bogs of the Snowy Mountains.
Click on the above photo to see the photo album.
The release went incredibly well with all eggs being distributed across the allocated sites. It was also a great day for Healesville Sanctuary whose staff for the first time released eggs they had bred from frogs in their care.
It is worrying to think that next season there may be no eggs laid in the wild and the species will depend on conservation organisations like Taronga and Zoos Victoria to breed and release this species back into the wild until populations are again stable. This, unfortunately, could be a long time away.
For more information or to donate to the conservation efforts of this species click here.