The scientists, who published their findings today in the journal ‘Wildlife Research’, said Australians still had a chance to rescue the frogs from oblivion with a relatively small amount of funding for research and disease management.
“The deadly chytrid fungus has already wiped out six frog species since it reached Australia in 1978, and another seven species are now in imminent danger,” said Dr David Newell from Southern Cross University.
The seven frog species on the brink of extinction are:
• The Southern Corroboree Frog of Mt Kosciuszko National Park (NSW)
• The Northern Corroboree Frog of Mt Kosciuszko National Park and adjacent National and State Parks (ACT and NSW)
• The Baw Baw Frog of Mt Baw Baw National Park (Vic)
• The Spotted Tree Frog from the Victorian alps (Vic)
• The Tasmanian Tree Frog from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area (Tas)
• The Kroombit Tinker Frog from Kroombit Tops National Park (Qld)
• The Armoured Mist Frog from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (Qld)
“With a research and management program costing about $15 million over five years, we believe we can save these frogs from extinction,” said Dr Lee Skerratt, lead author and principal research fellow at the University of Melbourne.
The scientists have identified new research required, such as enhancing natural selection against the fungus, as offering the best chance for the seven critically endangered frogs to survive.
“There are no second chances when you’re talking about extinction. We believe these seven frogs are part of Australia’s unique wildlife heritage. Saving them would be both an extraordinary achievement and a priceless gift to future generations but the time to act is now,” said Dr Newell.
Photo: The Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) (credit: Michael McFadden (Taronga Zoo))
Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.