Big boost for tiny frogs

Big boost for tiny frogs

#Animals, #Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 10th January 2024 by Media Relations

Taronga’s Successful amphibian breeding programs

The future of three critically endangered tiny frog species is looking brighter with success in Booroolong, Northern Corroboree and Southern Corroboree breeding programs.

All three species are critically endangered due to climate change, severe weather events, amphibian chytrid fungus and introduced species severely impacting remaining wild populations.
All three Taronga Conservation Society Australia breeding programs are designed to boost insurance populations that can be released into the wild as needed.

Booroolong Frogs
Booroolong Frogs
Booroolong Frog perching on rock
Booroolong Frog perching on rock

The Corroboree Frog Breeding Program

A dedicated Booroolong Frog breeding program was added in 2019 when drying waterways, due to drought, led to local extinction from a number of creeks and streams on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Earlier this year, 640 Booroolong Frogs were released in Northern NSW to re-establish wild populations. 

Taronga, along with the NSW Government’s Saving our Species Program, has participated in the National Recovery Programs for Southern Corroboree Frogs since 2006 and Northern Corroboree Frogs since 2010.

The programs have bred:
• 270 Northern Corroboree Frogs, bringing the Zoo’s insurance population to approximately 600. There are an estimated 1,200 mature adults in the wild.
• 20 Southern Corroboree Frogs, bringing the insurance population to approximately 400. There are an estimated 50 mature adults in the wild.
• Hundreds of Booroolong Frogs. There is not an exact estimate of the number of Booroolong Frogs as their numbers fluctuate in the wild, however we know they have disappeared from approximately 50 per cent of their former habitat.

Further releases for all three species are planned for the first half of next year.

Booroolong Frog tadpoles
Booroolong Frog tadpoles

Corroboree Frog Facts

Southern and Northern Corroboree Frogs are found in subalpine areas in Kosciuszko National Park and the Brindabellas, while Booroolong Frogs are found predominantly in streams on the western flowing slopes of NSW in a fraction of their original range.

Northern and Southern Corroboree Frogs are one of Australia’s smaller frog species, with adults measuring only 2.5-3cm and weighing 2-3 grams. Corroboree Frogs are identifiable by their striking black and yellow pattern, with each frog featuring a unique pattern much like a human fingerprint.
In contrast, Booroolong Frogs are masters of disguise and can be identified by their grey, olive or brown tones with black markings which help them camouflage in rocky streams and pools.

Visitors to Taronga Zoo this summer can see conservation in action at two Corroboree Frog breeding facilities and speak to keepers about their amazing amphibians.


“These breeding programs play a crucial role in the survival of some of our state’s most threatened species who are facing a multitude of threats in the wild.
“They might be tiny, but these frogs represent a bright future for the survival and recovery of these species.