Australian Capital Territory, Threatened Species Day Fact Sheet
Environment Australia, 2002
A hop, skip and a jump away from recovery!
The striking black and yellow stripes of the Southern Corroboree Frog make this species easy to recognise. It is only found within a very small region within the sub-alpine area of Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. While the cause of this species' decline is not yet clear, contributing factors may include disease and habitat loss as a result of human development and climate change. Global warming is of particular significance to the breeding patterns of cold climate species like the Southern Corroboree Frog.
The nationally endangered Southern Corroboree Frog has an extremely limited distribution, restricted to sub-alpine areas in the Australian Capital Territory and Kosciuszko National Park in the south of New South Wales. The species is only found at high altitudes within an area of about 400 square kilometres. The Southern Corroboree Frog uses two distinct types of habitat during its lifecycle: pools, wet tussock grass and wet heath for breeding; and forest, sub-alpine woodland and tall heath next to the breeding areas during other times of the year.
Females only breed once a year, and the tadpoles are slow growing, spending over six months in shallow pools. Its restricted habitat and specialised breeding pattern makes this species extremely vulnerable to disturbance.
The reasons for the present decline in populations of the Southern Corroboree Frog are not yet known. While activities such as ski-resort development, road construction and the operation of the hydro-electrical scheme all have an impact, more complex factors including climate change may also have great significance for the survival of the species.
Global warming could be altering the breeding season and changing the development period for eggs and tadpoles. Ozone depletion is also suspected to play a role. The Southern Corroboree Frog is also threatened by infections caused by the deadly Chytrid fungus - an infectious disease contaminating frogs worldwide. Erosion and pollution of waterways used for breeding also contribute to population decline.
The Commonwealth Government has been funding activities through the Natural Heritage Trust to expand wild populations by collecting eggs and returning tadpoles to their birth ponds. There is also on-going monitoring of wild populations to determine the effectiveness of work to increase populations. To date there has been a good survival rate of tadpoles that have been returned to the wild. Investigations into the establishment of a captive breeding program are continuing.
You can help the Corroboree Frog and other threatened alpine species by:
- taking care when visiting national parks to keep your impact to a minimum;
- not taking frogs or tadpoles from the wild
- protecting the habitat of all our native species including the Southern Corroboree Frog; and
- supporting local efforts to conserve threatened species in your area by joining a local conservation, 'friends' or Bushcare group or by volunteering for Conservation Volunteers Australia.
For more information on helping threatened species in the Australian Capital Territory, visit:
Threatened Species Network website www.wwf.org.au/tsn
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772 or by visiting our threatened species web site at: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened
The Tuggeranong Lignum is a sprawling, tangled shrub that is a nationally endangered species. It is currently only found in one area, Pine Island in the Murrumbidgee River, Canberra. Its habitat is restricted to flood terraces on the eastern bank of the river. It grows in rocky outcrops with rich pockets of silty sand soil.
The riverside habitat of this species is frequently disturbed by flooding and by human impacts. Serious threats to this species include competition with introduced weeds, herbicide poisoning and direct human impact such as trampling.
Southern corroboree frog.
Illustration: Barbara Cameron-Smith