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Rare froglets come of age

Rare froglets come of age

Media release
01 April 2008

Rare froglets come of age

The first broods of rare Maud Island froglets raised under incubation at Victoria University have been released into their enclosure at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

The frogs' release is a significant conservation biology breakthrough and the hatching of the tiny froglets in February demonstrates the Sanctuary’s potential as a breeding site on the mainland.

Associate Professor Ben Bell, Director of the University's Centre for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, first bred Maud Island frogs in similar outdoor forest enclosures in Lower Hutt in 1976.

After their collection from a breeding pen in the Sanctuary the froglets were raised in dark, cool and damp conditions in incubators in the School of Biological Sciences by Dr Bell and restoration ecology postgraduate student Kerri Lukis (photographed with Dr Bell above).

Kerri Lukis has been studying the frogs since their release into the Sanctuary in 2006. Using an adaptive management approach, about a year ago half of the Maud Island frogs there were released into the wild, while the rest were kept in an adjacent enclosure.

Dr Bell says the successful breeding and release is partly due to the partnership of the University and the Sanctuary who have worked closely together on this project.

“In 2006 we planted native trees and erected a plaque to commemorate the research partnership between the Sanctuary and the Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology. It is good to see our collaboration producing positive results.”

“We do not yet know if the wild adults have bred like those in the enclosure. It may be some time before any young frogs are large enough to be seen.”


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