Information & resources on frog conservation.

Frog Week

dancing_frog_comic_anima_copy_1New Zealand Frog Week

2011   11 - 18 September  (in 2011 we will combine our frog activities with those of Conservation Week, to present a united FROG CONSERVATION message).
Check back here often to see how the new events will unravel.  

Dunedin and Wellington

Waikato Region

Year of the Frog 2008 (Frog Week 28th Sept - 4th October)

2008 was a great Frog Week.  A whole week of activites were planned at Auckland Zoo and many regional centres.  Click on the links below to see regional details.....

Auckland Zoo

Orana Wildlife Park

Click here to listen to an interview with Auckland Zoo staff about Frog Week on National radio, and here for an interview with The Frog Whisperer (Phil Bishop)

Declining Frogs

Frog populations throughout the world are continuing to decline despite the best efforts by scientists in more than 30 countries.  Although the main cause of amphibian deaths has often been attributed to habitat destruction and fragmentation, pinpointing the causes of the decline is difficult because many causative factors interact and exacerbate the problems facing the frogs.  Unfortunately, when mankind causes changes to the environment, the total effect may end up being more than the sum of the parts. Most frogs have a biphasic life cycle, in which eggs, laid in water, develop into tadpoles that metamorphose into tiny replicas of the adults.  This fact, coupled with their being covered by a semi-permeable skin, makes frogs particularly vulnerable to pollutants and other environmental stresses. Consequently frogs can be used as environmental biomonitors. If something detrimental is happening to the frogs, we had better take notice, as they act as an early warning system for the health of our environment.

A recent hypothesis suggests that infection by an ancient chytrid fungus may be the common link in most amphibian declines.  However, whether or not this is a novel pathogen, causing a lethal epidemic in frog populations around the globe, or simply the last straw in a long line of insults that the frogs have been subjected to in recent years, is still controversial.

Male Archey's Frog (Leiopelma archeyi) guarding eggs
(Photo taken by Rod Morris)

Native Frog Recovery Group

The “Native Frog (Leiopelma spp.) Recovery Plan” was published in 1996 as part of a series of recovery plans published by the Department of Conservation (Newman 1996).  The plan acts as a guide to the management of Leiopelma frogs and the implementation of the recovery strategy is carried out by the Native Frog Recovery Group.  Meetings of this group are held annually, where the progress and implementation of the plan are discussed. 
At the meeting in October 2004 the Recovery Plan was reviewed and in the light of new information, a new plan
is presently being drafted.

New Zealand’s Frogs

There are four species of native frogs and three species of introduced frogs in New Zealand. We really do not know how well New Zealand’s frogs are coping amid the many reports of global amphibian declines, but we have seen a dramatic decline in Archey’s frog over the last few years.  Although chytrid fungus has been identified in introduced frogs, its role in any of the declines of native frogs in our country, has yet to be determined. The conservation status of Archey’s frog and Hamilton’s frog are classified as Nationally Critical – the same level of protection as the kakapo.

If people move from one frog habitat to another (or visit any off-shore islands) they should ensure that they thoroughly sterilise any equipment that may contain potentially contaminated mud, especially boots, camping gear and tripod feet.  In addition, it is imperative that people refrain from releasing tadpoles or frogs into ponds other than those from which they were initially collected. Once you have a pet frog, you should consider it a friend for life and some species may live more than 20 years in captivity!