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Things that go "Craww craww craww" in the night

Local kids learn about the Booroolong Frog

Interesting facts and key challenges facing the Booroolong Frog were highlighted as part of the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala (K2W) Glideways Biodiversity Day, held at Trunkey Creek south of Bathurst on Friday 11 September.


School students from eight primary schools from Blayney, Wyangala, Bigga and Trunkey Creek districts took part in the event which was run to coincide with National Biodiversity Month.

The aim was to give kids a chance to learn about some of the native animals, insects and plants that live in their regional backyard, and inspire a greater awareness and understanding of the benefits of biodiversity and the natural world.

Dr Joanne Lenehan from Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Discovery Ranger Mim Osterberg, and NPWS Kanangra Area Ranger Jules Bros ran a frog education and bush walk for the kids as part of the Biodiversity Day activities. 

"We focussed on the Booroolong Frog which is a flagship frog species in this region," explained Joanne.
The Booroolong Frog is classed as a threatened species under both NSW and Commonwealth legislation, and also features in the renowned International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered along with the Sumatran Tiger.

"One reason the Booroolong Frog is threatened is because the species has disappeared from 50 percent of its former distribution within the past 25 years. The extent and quality of habitat, and the number of locations and number of mature individuals also continues to decline," said Joanne. 

"We explained to the students that the Booroolong is a river-breeding frog that relies on permanent water with extensive bedrock structures along the water's edge." 

"When looking for the frog, rocks and vegetation are key habitat features." 

"When the jelly-like masses of Booroolong frog eggs are deposited into the water, they stick onto rocks in crevices. Males often call from exposed rocks or crevices during the breeding season. The frogs also seek shelter from predators and the winter cold under the rocks, as well as basking on the rock in the summer sun," said Joanne. 

Any action that reduces stream permanency or results in loss of rock crevices, such as smothering by weeds or sedimentation, is likely to threaten the survival of local populations of this species. 

"This is critical as the Booroolong Frog generally only lives 2–3 years and may only breed a maximum of twice in a lifetime!" said Joanne. 

"However, work to preserve the Booroolong Frog has proven very successful, and we now have several known populations across a large area of central and southern NSW, including a population in the Abercrombie NP region in the Central Tablelands."

"That frog population is the focus of a recently announced Environmental Trust Saving Our Species (SOS) Partnership Grant to protect and enhance habitat along the Abercrombie River and Sewell's Creek." 

"Frog species diversity is declining globally so the Biodiversity Day was a wonderful opportunity for us to engage with budding young frog scientists and share the Booroolong Frog story."

"We talked about the how the unique properties of a frog's skin, and how water can pass both in and out."

"We also played some fun games with the kids to highlight the threats facing frogs such as chytrid disease, sedimentation of water caused by feral pigs and livestock with access to creek banks, and the smothering of habitat from willow roots and other invasive aquatic plants.

"We were very impressed with how much the kids knew about frog behaviour. They knew to look for frogs at night, spurred on by the sometimes deafening chorus of competing males!"

"They also knew that adult male Booroolongs are generally smaller growing to about 4 cm in size, compared the female which grow to about 5 cm." 
 
"They also showed a great deal of enthusiasm for our bush walk on the day, learning about how to read nature, and looking for things like scats and tracks to work out what sort of animals are living in the area."

"We want to encourage kids to discover the natural world for themselves. It's a lot of fun and you never know what you might find, there could even be a new population or frog species out there waiting to be discovered!" said Joanne. 

Other activities at the Biodiversity Day included sessions with the National Parks and Wildlife Service's Discovery Rangers and the Office of Environment and Heritage's Threatened Species Van, and a presentation on feral animals by Local Land Services. 

The Biodiversity Day at Trunkey Creek was organised by the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link conservation partnership, which is part of the Great Eastern Ranges initiative. 

For more information about the Booroolong Frog contact Dr Joanne Lenehan by phone on: 02 6341 9317 or email: joanne.lenehan@lls.nsw.gov.au

Media enquiries - Kylie Krause 0439 608370