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April 17, 2021

Frog Pod to help save threatened species

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Macadamia Castle supervisor Georgia Shapter with a red eyed green tree frog.
Macadamia Castle supervisor Georgia Shapter with a red-eyed green tree frog.

A new attraction at Macadamia Castle at Knockrow will become part of a network of conservation facilities aimed at saving endangered frogs.

The Castle’s ‘frog pod’ is one of six in Australia and just 22 worldwide.

Castle owner Tony Gilding said the pod would initially display five local species including the critically endangered Spotted Tree Frog, and the locally threatened Tusk Frog.

At the unveiling of the frog pod yesterday, Dr David Newell, a lecturer a the school of environment, science and engineering, said he had been studying frogs in northern New South Wales for more than 20 years.

Dr Newell said one quarter of all species were of conservation concern.

Particularly at risk were the stream-dwelling species, which make up 20 per cent of all species yet accounted for nearly half of those in danger.

Taronga Zoo frog expert Michael McFadden told visitors that more than 120 species had disappeared across the world in recent years, many the victim of a disease called amphibian chytrid fungus.

Another expert, David Hunter, a threatened-species officer with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, said captive populations were needed to breed endangered species.

‘There is no other pod in northern NSW yet we have many threatened species in this region,’ Dr Hunter said.

‘This is a fantastic setup, which will help expose the public to some of these issues.’

The pod is actually a 12-metre shipping container; refurbished and purpose fitted-out as a research, rescue and release facility.

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