Spotted Tree Frog Reintroduction
To breed and reintroduce spotted tree frogs into their former range in Australia
Several factors are considered to be contributing to the decline of the spotted tree frog (Litoria spenceri). Introduced trout, which prey on spotted tree frog tadpoles, occur in all catchments that this species occupies. Habitat disturbance from forest management, road works and recreational activities, such as trail bikes and 4WD vehicles, contribute to increased erosion, sedimentation of streams, damage to riparian habitat and weed invasion. These disturbance factors may have been exacerbated by the extensive bushfires in the region in 2003 and 2006.
A devastating amphibian disease called Chytridiomycosis is a contributing factor to the decline of the spotted tree frog. This fungus of the skin causes damage to the keratin layer and ultimately death. It is thought to be responsible for many amphibian declines in Australia and around the world in recent years.
The overall objective of the National Recovery Plan is to achieve the down listing of the spotted tree frog from endangered to a lower threat category.
Zoos Victoria's key roles in the recovery programme include the captive breeding programme for this species at Healesville Sanctuary to supplement in situ populations through reintroduction, and maintain an insurance population in captivity in the event that the wild population continues to decline. In addition, Zoos Victoria aims to implement a population monitoring programme, undertake research into the role of chytrid fungus in population declines and increase community awareness and support for spotted tree frog conservation.
WAZA Conservation Project 10017 is implemented by Zoos Victoria Healesville Sanctuary. Other stakeholders involved in the project include the (Victorian) Department of Sustainability and the Environment, Parks Victoria, Department of the Environment and Climate Change (NSW), Amphibian Research Centre and Department of the Environment and Water Resources.
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