One hundred critically endangered southern corroboree frogs have returned to their native habitat in Kosciuszko National Park to enjoy life in a purpose-built field enclosure designed to protect them.
Before the intervention, a deadly fungal disease was wiping out the frogs in the NSW Snowy Mountains, with an estimated 30 remaining in the wild.
They were also plagued by the previous drought, habitat degradation from invasive species and badly affected by the 2019-20 east coast bushfires.
The released frogs will have field enclosures with irrigation systems for fire-proofing, as well as remote cameras to monitor their progress.
NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said the release was “conservation in action, and it’s working”.
The project is a partnership between the NSW government’s Saving our Species program, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and Zoos Victoria.
Taronga Conservation Society Australia herpetofauna unit supervisor Michael McFadden said its successful breeding program has an ‘insurance population’ of about 400 frogs.
“Corroboree frogs’ biology is adapted for cold alpine climates, so the terrariums where they are bred are kept refrigerated to match seasonal temperature variation in their natural habitat,” Mr McFadden said.
“Timing the release of these frogs is crucial for their survival, allowing them sufficient time to acclimatise and prepare for hibernation ahead of winter.”