Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is at the forefront of animal conservation. Through their considered breeding programs they are helping to save some of Australia’s and the world’s most endangered animals, one species at a time.
The Corroboree Frog Program
The Corroboree Frog is one of Australia’s most recognised amphibian species. Its bright yellow body and black marbled stripes are what makes the Corroboree frog one of the most spectacular and unique looking frogs in the world. Situated in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park there are as few as 50 Corroboree Frogs left in the wild.
The name ‘Corroboree’ is an Indigenous term for a gathering or meeting. The attendees will normally paint themselves with yellow markings.
In the wild the male Corroboree frog will sing to the female to get her attention, which is helpful seeing as the yellow and black frog doesn’t have webbed feet and cannot hop.
Unfortunately the tiny frog suffered as a result of the deadly Chytrid Fungus -a fungus that has been responsible for mass die-offs and frog extinctions since the 1990s.
Taronga is helping to breed and release Corroboree Frogs into the wild.Taronga has teamed up with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Zoos Victoria, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Wollongong University and the Amphibian Research Centre in a fight to save the species.
The process involves breeding the frogs in special breeding units (setting the mood) complete with water filtration systems and dual thermostats to assist the development of reproduction.
With the Zoo’s help thousands of eggs and hundreds of frogs have been reintroduced to the wild.
Regent Honeyeater Breeding Program
The Regent Honeyeater is a spectacular black and yellow speckled bird who lays beautifully marbled purple and red eggs. They are a major pollinator in the box-ironbark forests of Victoria and NSW particularly for the Eucalyptus tree (the koala’s favourite).
The bird’s declining numbers has had a huge impact on the Box-Ironbark ecosystem. Fragmentation and land clearance for agriculture has disturbed the bird’s and local fauna’s habitat.
Today there are fewer than 1,500 Regent Honeyeaters left in Australia.
As part of the Regent Honeyeater’s recovery plan Taronga is helping protect the woodlands where the bird lives. Areas are being revegetated and new eucalypt species are being planted, so that when released the birds have a better chance of survival and things to pollinate.
To date, almost 200 birds have been bred at Taronga Zoo and released.
Taronga Zoo works closely with like-minded organisations and conservation experts to protect and regenerate vegetation in efforts to further understand local and international wildlife. Working to save the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle from extinction, Keeper, Adam Skidmore reveals the importance of Taronga’s conservation efforts:
Without this conservation breeding program, the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle would be at risk of extinction in the wild. This species is completely conservation dependent.
With 21 hatchlings being born at Taronga this year, the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle is fighting back from the brink of extinction.
Last year Taronga Zoo announced that the next decade will be dedicated to the conservation of 10 critical species. Among the 10 are 5 native Australian species; The Corroboree Frog, Regent Honeyeater, Greater Bilby, Platypus and Marine Turtle.
Taronga Zoo has made leaps and bounds in animal conservation. Thanks to their efforts species like the Corroboree Frog and Regent Honeyeater have a brighter future in the wild.