The secretive Baw Baw Frog (Philoria frosti) is only found on the Mt Baw Baw plateau, Victoria, Australia. Sadly, all estimates point to extinction in the wild in just 5-10 years.
The Baw Baw Frog’s wild population has declined by more than 98% since the late 1980s, driven by an infectious disease called Chytrid Fungus.
The Baw Baw Frog lives and feeds underground, hunting worms and other invertebrates. During summer, males and females meet to breed. Females make a foam nest underground by beating air bubbles into mucous. The tadpoles hatch 5-8 weeks later, much earlier than most other frogs - the tadpoles don’t feed and instead live off their own yolk sack before metamorphosing into frogs.
The establishment of a self-sustaining captive insurance population is now the highest priority to save the species. Zoos Victoria is leading this.
In 2010 almost nothing was known about managing this frog in captivity. At Melbourne Zoo we have since developed husbandry techniques for raising and keeping Baw Baw Frogs and we could expect breeding when our youngest frogs reach maturity in 2019.