Valley

Frogs plight in focus this year

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority has begun a year-long community awareness campaign to highlight threats to local frog populations and what can be done to address a decline in numbers.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GB CMA) has begun a year-long community awareness campaign to highlight threats to local frog populations and what can be done to address a decline in numbers.

As part of the 2022 – The Year of the Frog project, a local frog species will feature each month, starting with the Growling Grass Frog this month.

GB CMA project officer, Janice Mentiplay-Smith, said the Growling Grass Frog was one of the largest species of frog in Australia and was once common around the local region.

“However, it’s now in serious decline and is classified as endangered in Victoria,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“It was once so abundant in Victoria that they were captured and fed to reptiles at the Melbourne Zoo and used for dissections in universities but they have largely disappeared from our landscape.”

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said fragmentation, meaning they could not move freely across the landscape, contributed to the decline of the Growling Grass Frog, as well as many other species.

“In a fragmented landscape, genetic diversity declines and these frogs become easy pickings for predators including cats and foxes. A decline in water quality and availability also affects their ability to remain in the environment,” she said.

The Growling Grass Frog is a member of the Tree Frog family but lives on the ground. It eats small prey including other small frogs. Males have a habit of calling while floating in water, emitting a low growl of about one second.

Adults are found close to wet areas in woodlands and would have once been quite common around the local Grey Box Grassy Woodland environment - a focus of the GB CMA Linking Landscapes and Communities Project which is working with landowners, communities and Traditional Owners to improve this critical habitat.

To contribute to the study and understanding of the Growling Grass Frog and other frog populations visit australian.museum.

For more information on the Growling Grass Frog visit frogs.org.au.

This project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

For more information contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith on 0418 316 169 or email: janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au

Photo: The Growling Grass Frog was once common to the local area but is now classified as endangered in Victoria. Photo by Chris Tzaros.