Image: © Aussie Ark
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
July 13, 2023 5:43 pm
New South Wales, Australia
Aussie Ark have completed a regular check on their population of endangered frogs held as an insurance against the extinction of these threatened species. The routine swabbing checks help to ensure that the population is free from the deadly chytrid fungus which has decimated frog populations across the globe.
The checks occurred at conservation ark located in the ground’s of Aussie Ark’s sister organisation, the Australian Reptile Park. Conservation Ark is home to threatened frog and reptile species which form an insurance against the extinction of these species.
Checks for chytrid fungus occur every 6 months. This highly contagious fungus affects the keratin in their skin which impacts their breathing ability. Eventually it will disable their nervous system and affect normal movement. Left untreated the condition is fatal and has wiped out one third of amphibian species. Seven species have so far fallen victim to the fungus in Australia.
So the stakes couldn’t be higher for the frogs at Conservation Ark. Reptile Keeper Sam Herrmann conducted the swabbing efforts, which included every juvenile and adult frog in the facility.
“The reason why we test for Chytrid Fungus all the time is because our adult frogs – our established population – were wild-caught frogs,” Mr Herrmann explained. “When they came in they did have Chytrid, which was treated, and now they’re all Chytrid-free. So all we do is swab them so we know no Chytrid has entered our facility once again.”
To conduct the swab samples are taken from the underside of the frog from its knee to its armpit. Each sample is then labelled and sent to Sydney where they undergo testing at a university.
Aussie Ark and the Australian Reptile Park are delighted to confirm all frogs in the Conservation Ark facility tested negative for the fungus.
“Our frogs testing negative again affirms how critically important they are as insurance populations for Giant Barred and Stuttering frog species here at Conservation Ark – and for frogs in the wild – into the future,” Mr Herrmann concluded.
An endangered stuttering frog is held by a keeper at Aussie Ark. The insurance population held at the facility was recently confirmed to be free from the deadly chytrid fungus. Image: © Aussie Ark
The stuttering frog is also known as the stuttering barred frog. These animals occur from Queensland down the east coast of Australia to Victoria. They have not been seen in Victoria since 1983.
Image: © Aussie Ark
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