Rare frog species jumping for joy in new home

The future of an endangered frog species is looking hoppier thanks to a new, purpose-built facility that supports a captive breeding program at Taronga Zoo.

Booroolong frog (Litoria booroolongensis)

Environment Minister James Griffin said 58 rare Booroolong frogs are thriving in their new home, after severe drought almost wiped out the species from their habitat.

“Booroolong frogs are usually found in streams in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, and they were badly affected by the 2019 drought when many waterways dried up,” Mr Griffin said.

“To help protect this threatened species, our experts from the Saving our Species (SoS) program and Taronga Zoo joined local ecologist Phil Spark and the Australian Museum’s Dr Jodi Rowley to rescue 58 healthy frogs to develop a captive breeding program.

“We’ve now successfully established an insurance population of Booroolong frogs, and they’re thriving in their state of the art home following a $178,000 NSW Government-funded upgrade.”

The facility now has advanced features that replicate the frog’s natural environment, including special UV lighting, flowing water and temperature controls that mimic seasonal changes.

Most Booroolong frogs live for a only single breeding season. One failed breeding season can cause significant population decline, while 2o consecutive years of failed breeding may result in local extinction.

“Australia’s amphibians are experiencing widespread declines due to threats such as recent droughts fires, and the devastating chytrid fungus,” Mr Griffin said.

“That’s why this World Wetlands Day, we’re celebrating the success of the Booroolong frog captive breeding program, and we’re hoping it’ll ultimately help revive their wetland habitat.

“We know that habitat protection and conservation is critical for securing the future of this important native species.”

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