Threatened frog breeding sites devastated byJanuary fires

In September 2018 the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) reported on the discovery of a log pool in far east Gippsland containing tadpoles of a rare frog - the only active breeding site for the frog known in Victoria at the time.

The Large Brown Tree Frog (Litoria littlejohni).

The Large Brown Tree Frog (Litoria littlejohni).

The Large Brown Tree Frog (Litoria littlejohni) is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, and in Victoria it has only been recorded at a small number of sites in East Gippsland.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) staff wanted to encourage more breeding in the vicinity of the log pool, which was seen as a high-quality breeding site.

DELWP's Biodiversity Recovery Coordinator, Marc Perri said: "We partnered with the Moogji Aboriginal Council Natural Resource Management Team to create and trial 12 artificial pond structures (tubs) in the bush.

"These were trying to replicate the fallen log pool habitat, using corrugated iron to catch water and funnel it into a tub with river sand, rocks and logs to form a diverse habitat that might attract the frogs to breed," Mr Perri said.

One of the artificial pond structures for Large Brown Tree Frog breeding completely destroyed by fire and due to be replaced.

One of the artificial pond structures for Large Brown Tree Frog breeding completely destroyed by fire and due to be replaced.

"The project was showing some encouraging signs of success when the bushfires hit.

"We've checked all the sites and found that 10 out of the 12 were burnt through, with only one of those surviving relatively intact.

"But, we're happy to report that there are Large Brown Tree Frog tadpoles present in one of the three surviving artificial tubs at the remaining site - this is heartening news after so much devastation.

"The Moogji team will now remove the burnt tubs and will build up to 30 new artificial habitat tubs in spring, with funding from the Victoria Government's $17.5 million Bushfire Biodiversity Relief and Early Recovery funding.

Large Brown Tree Frog tadpoles doing well in the one remaining artificial pond.

Large Brown Tree Frog tadpoles doing well in the one remaining artificial pond.

"A fresh start for our project and a new beginning for a rare frog."

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