Image: © Alex Pike. DPE.
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
March 8, 2023 8:40 pm
Northern NSW, Australia
Taronga Zoo Sydney have released a group of booroolong frogs to the wild just three years after they commenced their mission to save the species from extinction. 640 of the endangered frogs were returned to Northern New South Wales by Taronga Conservation Society Australia, alongside partners from NSW Department of Planning and Environment with support from the NSW Government Saving our Species program.
Booroolong frogs have declined in numbers in the Northern Tablelands of NSW due to several threats including the spread of chytrid fungus, changes in land use, reduction of habitat and the ongoing effects of climate change such as extended droughts and unprecedented bushfires.
Taronga Conservation Society Australia Supervisor of Herpetofauna and Amphibian specialist Michael McFadden said the release was a humbling moment of progress after a rigorous process.
“When we went out to collect the remaining population from the Northern NSW region, we were able to successfully retrieve a total of 60 individuals from catchments that were dry and struggling. Just over three years later, we have just released over 600 frogs, into a stream that is now flowing and thriving”.
“In just over a week, we will be conducting our first survey since the release, and we are hoping to see the frogs settled in and doing well,” said McFadden.
Since being established in 2019 the breeding program for the booroolong frog at Taronga Zoo Sydney has experienced success. At present 110 frogs are part of the genetically diverse population of this species. These individuals live in a purpose built habitat at the zoo where they will contribute to stage two of this plan which is set to breed more individuals for release to suitable habitats.
Almost half of all amphibian species on Earth are now threatened with extinction. 501 species of amphibian have been driven to extinction since the 1980s with a main cause being chytrid fungus.
Taronga Conservation Society’s Wildlife Conservation Officer Monique Van Sluys said, “Frogs are the key indicator of a healthy and sustainable environment and for that reason, they are also known as bioindicators”.
“If you are lucky enough to have a frog that is thriving in your garden at home, then that indicates that you have created a viable and healthy environment”
“Frogs breathe through their skin and therefore are very sensitive to water quality and pollution, so if that frog in your garden suddenly becomes ill or dies, it could indicate that there is a compromise in that particular environment,” says Van Sluys.
Booroolong frogs are just one of the species benefiting from conservation efforts at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Others include Northern and Southern Corroboree Frogs. Last month 110 individuals were released into Kosciuszko National Park.
Frogs are part of a diverse group called the amphibians which also includes salamanders, newts and toads. Learn more about them with our fact file.
While known from New South Wales in many years, the booroolong frog was also found to live in Victoria for the first time in 1990. They were found along a number of small creeks feeding in to the Murray River in the north of the state.
Image: © Alex Pike. DPE.
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