By Michelle Bennet from the West Australian
Only the size of a pencil tip when born, 60 critically endangered white-bellied frogs will be released today in the small South-West town of Witchcliffe in an attempt to reintroduce the species to the area.
With only 200 of the amphibians left in the wild, a joint Department of Environment and Conservation and Perth Zoo breeding program is battling to slow the rapid loss of frogs.
Devastated by habitat destruction caused by feral pigs, illegal firewood harvesting, off-road vehicles and fire, the species was confined to a limited and isolated ecological niche and susceptible to environmental changes, DEC regional manager Kim Williams said. Perth Zoo’s director of animal health, Helen Robertson, said the biggest challenge was working with such a tiny species that weigh just 0.03g as froglets.
“Despite the challenges, we successfully reared 75 froglets from wild-collected egg nests,” she said.
“The captive rearing is an important step in increasing their chances of reaching adulthood.”
Environment Minister Donna Faragher said the frog translocation was part of the work of the recently established Threatened Species Council.
It is the first of its kind for white-bellied frogs. Usually, eggs rather than grown frogs are put in the wild.
Margaret River Discovery Tours
Sean Blocksidge is the owner operator of the Margaret River Discovery Company, an avid photographer, blogger and South West WA ambassador. In 2010 he won Western Australian Guide of the Year and his tours have been rated the #1 thing to do in Australia on the Tripadvisor website for the past two years.