Thousands of endangered frog eggs released
OVER 2000 EGGS of the southern corroboree frog have been carried by zoo keepers high into the mountains of Kosciuszko National Park, in a bid to bolster populations of the critically endangered species.
The southern corroboree frog is in danger of extinction due to the deadly chytrid fungus – it is believed there are less than 50 mature individuals of the species left in the wild.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has called chytrid the worst infectious disease ever recorded among invertebrates.
Keepers release more than 2000 eggs in the wilds of Kosciuszko National Park, NSW. (Image: Madeleine Smitham)
The eggs were bred at Taronga Zoo and Zoos Victoria through a partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and released into a disease-free enclosure in the park, which is located in New South Wales near the Victorian border.
“Only 15 wild males were detected during the January census, mostly at sites where the animals have been reintroduced into the wild,” said Michael McFadden, curator at Taronga Zoo.
“The eggs we released this month will take six months to metamorphose into frogs and then a further four years to mature. It’s hoped that these eggs will contribute to giving this species a chance to recover,” he said.
The eggs will take six months to metamorphose into frogs. (Image: Madeleine Smitham)
Experts believe the tiny frog species could be extinct within the next two years without these breed-and-release programs, Michael added.
Other species at risk of extinction from the fungus include the northern corroboree grog and the yellow-spotted bell frog.