Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents 13 - Tuesday, February 16, 2016
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Love is in the air for breeding season
The Corroboree frog is slowly returning from the edge of extinction.
Our bush capital
St Valentine s Day is usually
associated with heartfelt romantic
deeds. Down through the ages
Valentine s Day has stirred many a
romantic gesture, resulting in a
commercial boom through the sale of
chocolate heart boxes and elaborate
Originating as a northern
hemisphere custom, speculation links
the tradition with spring -- a time to
celebrate a new season, bringing with
it rejuvenation, rebirth and new life.
For those in-tune with nature,
valentine season heralds a special
time of year here in the bush capital.
Across the mountain landscape
there are signs of love in the air,
albeit in the form of timid mating calls
that resonate to a wonderful
symphony, a chirping chorus of
This annual concerto marks the
beginning of the endangered northern
corroboree frog breeding season.
However, these formerly plentiful,
truly dazzling little amphibians tilt on
the edge of extinction.
As a young ranger I can recall the
mossy sphagnum bogs beneath my
feet erupting with a crescendo of
corroboree frog mating calls.
Nestled up high, deep in the
Brindabella ranges, the mossy
subalpine wetlands were once alive
The decline for this once bountiful
species has been attributed to an exotic
fungal disease. The lethal chytrid
fungus has been credited with the
demise and in some cases total
extinction of frogs worldwide.
In 2003 a firestorm engulfed the
mountains burning not once but twice
the mossy habitat of the vulnerable
Corroboree frog. This fire event burnt
hot, deep into the peat layer of the
When we were surveying the
devastating scene, speculation was rife
we were witnessing a species ending
event. With time, nature has proved to
Working in collaboration with
researchers, an early intervention
program foresaw the potential impact
the combination of both fire and
fungus could have. From eggs
collected in the wild we established a
captive colony of corroboree frogs at
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
In our hands these precious eggs
represented the future of an entire
Over the ensuing years, thanks to
the passion, dedication and enthusiasm
of many, this highly acclaimed captive
breeding program may prove to be the
ultimate conservation insurance
This policy is now reaping
dividends with captive-bred frogs now
being released back to the sphagnum
moss bogs in Namadgi.
We hope they will soon be calling
out for a partner in numbers. Surely it
would make a classic romantic tale,
frogs in a bog now looking for love?
Perhaps after Valentine s Day, when
you touched the life of a special
person, spare a thought for a species of
frog slowly returning from the edge of
extinction. Perhaps there s even a
Prince Charming among them.
In the past the wildlife team at
Tidbinbilla have written Valentine s
Day letters to our local endangered
species. This year they wrote the
wonderful letter above to the
Brett McNamara is Regional
Manager with ACT Parks &
Learn how to grow fish and vegetables
together in your own backyard.
Aquaponics is the combination of
hydroponics and aquaculture in a no-
waste, integrated system.
Learn the basic theory and get on
the path to setting up your own system
by attending a workshop at the
Canberra Environment Centre.
The session on Tuesday, February
23, from 6.30-8.30pm, hosted by
Gurkan Yeniceri, will launch you on a
new learning curve.
Yeniceri will show participants how
he set up his own aquaponics system,
including a working model.
Tickets $20. Booking and further
information at ecoaction.com.au/
FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN
AT BUSH DANCE
Head along to a Community Bush
Dance this Saturday at the
The event, hosted by Cancer
Council NSW, will feature plenty of
family friendly activities, dancing and
live entertainment, as well as spit roast
and damper. People can listen to some
great bush yarns or try their hand at
bush dancing from 4pm-10pm.
All proceeds will go to the
Queanbeyan Relay for Life. Tickets
are $10 for a family or $5 a person.
You are my favourite
amphibian, my little piece of
The beauty of your black and
yellow stripes is breathtaking.
I adore seeing you tenderly
prepare your sphagnum moss
nest each year; you take so
much care with your eggs,
watchfully guarding them to
keep them safe.
Even though the odds are
stacked against you, even
though you are small and
delicate, you never give up --
I am trying too, little frog.
We will fight extinction
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
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