On Tuesday 22nd October, a team of Baw Baw Frog monitoring gurus from Zoos Victoria will head out to the Baw Baw Plateau with ears pricked, hoping to hear the elusive frog. Baw Baw Frog populations have been in decline for the past decade and as a result this is now one of Zoos Victoria’s 20 priority native threatened species.
Zoos Victoria's team consists of a range of consultants and frog specialists who will venture onto the chilly mountain top to survey the area, hoping that the calling males will be out in force. Surveys of the field site include information gathering around weather, calling activity, location, and other notes around nesting site location and description of chambers and observed behaviours.
Researchers will mark particular sites for our frog specialists to consider for excavation. Once selected, staff will carefully excavate the nest site to locate an egg mass for collection. When the males are located they will also be swabbed for presence/absence of chytrid fungus. Last year the field team were unsuccessful in locating any egg masses and reported fewer calls than previous years, however, poor weather conditions severely impacted the search.
This year we have increased the resources for the search and back at Melbourne Zoo we have set up a new fridge system to store egg masses with a custom made refrigerated shipping container on its way down from Sydney being prepared for emerging metamorphs.
May the Baw Baw be with us... literally!