80 Critically Endangered Australian Frogs Released to the Wild After Surviving Disease and Bushfire Crises

80 Critically Endangered Australian Frogs Released to the Wild After Surviving Disease and Bushfire Crises

The spotted tree frog was already recovering from local extinction when the “Black Summer” wildfires of 2019 to 2020 raged through New South Wales (NSW) in Australia. Of 250 to 300 frogs once released into the wild, only about 10 survived.

But now, the critically endangered species is receiving yet another lease on life. The government has released 80 spotted tree frogs into Kosciuszko National Park.

“Releasing these 80 Spotted Tree Frogs back into the wild despite all the setbacks this species has faced is a reminder to have optimism about the conservation work we’re doing, because it’s clearly making a positive difference,” NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin said in a press release.

The spotted tree frog (Litoria spenceri) is a medium-sized amphibian that lives alongside mountain rivers in the Australian states of NSW and Victoria, according to the Victoria state government. The females are slightly larger than the males, growing to around 60 millimeters in length, and have a dappled olive-gray and green skin that helps them blend in with streamside vegetation.

“The Spotted Tree Frog is fundamental to the maintenance of ecosystem health in the NSW upland rivers where it lives,” Department of Planning and Environment senior threatened species officer David Hunter said in the press release. “It occupies many streams where they are the only frog species, and tadpoles of this species consume nutrients and algae in large numbers. They are also food for other species such as snakes, birds, mammals and predatory invertebrates, playing an important role in the food web.”

Lead Image: A spotted tree frog. Jason Edwards / The Image Bank / Getty Images.

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