Monday 13 May 2019

Melbourne zoo hatches plan to save southern corroboree frog

Containers holding more than 1,600 of endangered species’ eggs placed in remote areas of Mt Kosciuszko national park

Sun 12 May 2019 02.19 BSTLast modified on Sun 12 May 2019 02.20 BST

A few days before the United Nations released a report warning that 1 million species, including 40% of all amphibians, could become extinct within decades, staff from Melbourne zoo were nursing chilled containers of frogs’ eggs to be taken to remote areas of sphagnum bog in the Mt Kosciuszko national park.

The containers held 1,673 fertilised eggs of the critically endangered southern corroboree frog, a species near the top of Australia’s extinction watchlist.

The eggs were packed into sphagnum moss for transport. Half were placed in one of 22 special disease-free areas that had been cleared of chytrid fungus, which is responsible for wiping out much of the wild population. The other half were placed in protected tubs in the wild, out of which the tadpoles will be able to climb once the eggs metamorphose.

That will not happen until spring. The tadpoles, which come out of their eggs as soon as they are released into the water, will spend the cold winter months nestled into the moss beneath a layer of snow and ice.

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