Egg drop gives hope to endangered frogs

May 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM
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MELBOURNE, May 11 (UPI) -- Australian conservationists say they hope the release of hundreds of frog eggs laid at the Melbourne Zoo can help revive a threatened species.

Around 300 eggs of the endangered black and yellow southern corroboree frog will be transported by helicopter to the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko in New South Wales to be released into streams there, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.

In a recent census of the corroboree frogs, which are only found in the Snowy Mountains region of Kosciuszko National Park, researchers recorded just nine males calling in the wild and found just one clutch of eggs.

"It probably means there are barely any females left in the wild," zoo amphibian keeper Raelene Hobbs said.

The water-borne disease chytrid fungus has decimated the species, she said.

The eggs will be released into water at three carefully selected sites and should hatch within 24 hours, she said.

However, the potential success of introducing eggs to the wild will take years to determine because the frogs only reach sexual maturity at four or five years of age.

"Really, though, we have to release them now because they are going to be extinct in three or four years if we don't," Hobbs said.

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