The University of Newcastle’s Amphibian Research Group today released the last of approximately 5000 tadpoles into a newly constructed research habitat on Ash Island.

The habitat has been created as part of the research being undertaken by the University, in collaboration with Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), into the Green and Golden Bell Frog.

NCIG CEO, Rob Yeates said the habitat, which includes sixteen ponds and wetland vegetation, has been planned to provide researchers with an understanding of the preferred environment and pond variables for the development of successful habitat for the Green and Golden Bell Frog.

“Construction and planting of the ponds commenced in September and took about three months to complete,” Mr Yeates said.

“We are now looking forward to working with the University’s team on this very important environmental research program to be conducted over the next three years.”

Professor Michael Mahony from the University’s Amphibian Research Group said his team had obtained 10 pairs of adult frogs from Kooragang Island a number of years ago that were kept in a specialised facility at the University.

“The Ash Island habitat is extremely vital to the success of our Green and Golden Bell Frog breeding program as the native population has been in decline over the past 20 years,” Professor Mahony said.

“We expect that several thousand tadpoles will be produced from these breeding pairs and released to the ponds on Ash Island for monitoring. In the controlled habitat, we can monitor the development of the species and help to mimimise possible threats topopulation including changes in habitat, introduced predators, diseases and pollution.”

                                                                                                                                                    The habitat developed includes:

  • Creation of a fenced enclosure around the Green and Golden Bell Frog habitat;
  • Excavation of 16 trial ponds within the enclosure;
  • Landscaping within the enclosure for example placing rocks around banks of the ponds and revegetating pond banks with native wetland vegetation;
  • Establishment of an access track;
  • Continuous monitoring of pond and ground water levels and water quality

The fenced enclosure is to assist in monitoring the animals in a controlled environment. Once the monitoring program has been completed, the fence will be removed and allowed to become part of the natural landscape to enable the frogs to interact with nearby Green and Golden Bell Frog populations.