Following a national recovery program to secure the tiny species’ future, the critically endangered spotted tree frog makes a comeback in southeast Australia, as the amphibian plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem it lives in.
“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,” says New South Wales Minister for Environment James Griffin.
The 80 specimens of the 5-centimeter frogs were released into Kosciuszko National Park. The spotted tree frog acts as a bioindicator, helping biologists assess the health level of the rivers in which it lives: for example, algae proliferate when tadpoles don’t eat it. With a life expectancy of 12 years, females can take up to 6 years to come to full maturity. Only then will they lay between 50 and 1,000 eggs every breeding season. “We’re at a pivotal time in history which is terrifying and exciting: we have the ability and power to turn things around,” says Australian Museum amphibian biologist and conservationist Jodi Rowley.