SYDNEY, March 14 (Xinhua) – As part of a project called “Conserving Our Species”, 100 ship frogs have been re-introduced into the wild in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) to revive their dwindling population.
The toad is a poisonous species that lives on land, endemic to small subalpine areas of the New South-East. Their bright yellow and black markings make them very recognizable and serve as a warning to predators.
On Monday, it was announced that late last week 100 frogs were reintroduced into a specially constructed aviary to allow them to re-adapt to their wild environment.
“These 100 ship frogs have been reintroduced into a specially built field enclosure in Kosciuszko National Park, which protects them from disease by allowing them to grow and thrive in the future,” said James Griffin, Environment and Heritage Minister of New South Wales.
As of 2004, frog status has been listed as critically endangered, and they have been widely identified as one of Australia’s species most at risk of extinction.
Since the 1970s, their population has been steadily declining, largely due to a fungal infection that was accidentally introduced to Australia.
This, combined with periods of drought, habitat degradation and severe forest fires, has led to their wildlife population declining to an estimated 30 individuals.
The Conservation of Our Species project is collaborating with the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, which breeds frogs and keeps an “insurance population” of about 400 frogs in captivity.
“The release time of these frogs is crucial for their survival, which gives them plenty of time to acclimatize and prepare for hibernation before winter,” added Michael McFaden, head of the Taronga Taronga Herpetofauna Department.
The Conservation of Our Species project is also working to restore the population of a number of endangered Australian species native to the New South East, including koalas, bushy-walled rocks and the ancient Wollemi pine.