All estimates point to extinction in the wild for the Baw Baw Frog in just five to 10 years.

The wild population has declined by more than 98% since the late 1980s. It lives and feeds amongst leaf litter and muddy earth on the Mount Baw Baw plateau, hunting worms and other invertebrates. The males and females meet to breed in late spring, and the tadpoles hatch five to eight weeks later, much earlier than most other frogs.

Major threats

The loss of the Baw Baw Frog is mainly due to the disease Chytridiomycosis caused by infection with Amphibian Chytrid Fungus. This is a big cause of frog deaths worldwide.

The plan for fighting extinction

In 2010, almost nothing was known about managing the Baw Baw Frog in captivity. Melbourne Zoo led the way in developing the right husbandry methods for a captive insurance population. We worked closely with survey teams to collect egg masses and adults. Our amphibian specialists planned extensively for this program; preparations included the design and construction of special breeding bunkers that mimicked the frog’s natural alpine habitat. The team also bred insects that were conducive to the female reproductive cycle. We are now refining techniques to reintroduce the frogs into the wild.

Our partners in this landmark program include:

  • The Amphibian Research Centre
  • Baw Baw Frog Recovery Team
  • Baw Naw National Park
  • Baw Baw Shire Council
  • Deakin University
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort
  • University of Wollongong

Zoos Victoria is also researching the role of chytrid fungus in the decline of frog numbers.

How you can help

  • Most Australians don’t know about the Baw Baw Frog. Do what you can to create community awareness and support.
  • By visiting our zoos, you will be supporting our work to fight extinction.
  • Donate if you can. As we are a not-for-profit organisation, all donations go towards our important conservation efforts.
  • Discover more about local conservation events and join the growing number of Wild Activists taking action for local wildlife.

Fun facts

  • Unsurprisingly, Baw Baw Frogs are only found on Mount Baw Baw, Victoria
  • Only the males call
  • A baby froglet is smaller than a five cent piece

You can see the Baw Baw Frog at Melbourne Zoo. 

Population Trend:
Number left in the wild:
Less than 1,000

Conservation Status

  • LC
    Least Concern
  • NT
    Near Threatened
  • VU
  • EN
  • CR
    Critically Endangered
  • EW
    Extinct in the Wild
  • EX