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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
4 January 1998
Australia's declining populations of the Green and Golden Bell Frog now have a greater chance of survival due to new Commonwealth protection.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the Howard Government has taken action to maximise the chance of survival of the frog species by adding it to Australia's list of nationally vulnerable species.
Senator Hill says scientific evidence and advice from the Endangered Species Scientific Subcommittee has convinced the government of the need to act now to save the species from possible extinction.
"The Green and Golden Bell Frog was once abundant throughout many parts of New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria but has now disappeared from the ACT and all sites higher than 250 metres above sea level.
"It is the fifteenth species of frog in Australia to receive Commonwealth protection. Conservation efforts, including those being funded through the Natural Heritage Trust and Green Corps projects, will assist the species' recovery.
"Leading scientists believe the frogs' decline may be due to local causes as populations of the Green and Golden Bell Frog relocated from Australia to New Zealand, Vanuatu and New Caledonia appear to be healthy and stable.
"The major threats to the species' survival include the destruction of its preferred habitat, in the southern highlands and southern slopes, and predation by the introduced mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis.
"Frogs act as early indicators of harmful environmental change due to their permeable skin which easily absorbs toxic pollutants carried in air and water."
These changes to Schedule 1 of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 are now in force. Anyone wishing to capture or study the Green and Golden Bell Frog in Australia for scientific purposes must apply for a permit from the appropriate State or Commonwealth Agency.
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 0419 693 515 or 02 6277 7640
Bruce Male (Environment Australia) 02 6250 0281
January 4, 1998 (02/98)