28 September 2010

3000 Frogs Isn't Very Many

Photos courtesy of Frogwatch.

White-bellied Frog (Geocrinia Alba), Critically Endangered

Sixty White-bellied Frogs are now exploring their native habitat for the first time, after being released into the wild last week. These glossy bellied frogs live only in the province of Western Australia, where they have the dubious distinction of being this region's only critically endangered frog species.

The total population of all White-bellied Frogs is estimated at less than 3000. This might be an impressive number if you were talking about Facebook friends or gigabytes of data, but when you're talking about the entire population of a species, 3000 equals hanging by a thread.

They are mostly being affected by habitat loss, and a related problem, habitat fragmentation. As humans encroach on their living space, they also divide it. These frogs are known to exist in 56 subpopulations, with no movement between any of the groups.

This latest release is the first time young frogs (aka froglets) have been introduced to the wild from the captive breeding program run by the Department of Environment and Conservation. Transplantations of large numbers of eggs have occurred, but the results of this new approach will help scientists determine the best methods of helping boost the population of this unique amphibian.

Check out the Amphibian Ark--an organization dedicated to helping endangered frogs all around the world.
Read more details here or some technical data here.