Progress of the Lithobates vibicarius program
at Chester Zoo


Lithobates vibicarius

Common Name(s)

Green-eyed Frog

Region where program is based


Country where program is based

United Kingdom

The authority that recommended this species for an ex situ program

Conservation Needs Assessment Workshop, Conservation Needs Assessment Workshop

Has a genetic analysis been performed on wild populations to define the target taxon, i.e., verify that single, viable Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESU's) that are managed as separate populations, are not confounded by cryptic species or polymorphisms?

Name of the institution managing the ex situ population

Chester Zoo

Year the program started


Is at least some portion of the captive population maintained in range country?


Are sufficient resources available to manage the ex situ population?


Are adequate numbers of skilled staff available with the appropriate ex situ amphibian experience?


Is sufficient space available for the required population size?


Additional Support required

Has a Taxon Management Coordinator for the ex situ population been appointed?


Taxon Management Coordinator

Ben Baker of Chester Zoo

Has a Taxon Management Group or Recovery Team been established?


Has a Taxon Management Plan, Recovery Plan or Species Action Statement been written?


Web link to Taxon Management Plan

Have Husbandry Guidelines been written?

In preparation

Web link to Husbandry Management Guidelines

Have any knowledge gaps in the species biology or in their interaction with potential threats been identified that could benefit from research using the ex situ population?


List of knowledge gaps

We know that the recovering population is carrying chytrid but we don't know at what levels. We also have very limited information on other recently rediscovered populations.

Have founder needs been calculated using the AArk Amphibian Population Management Guidelines ?


Have sufficient potential founders been collected? ( AArk Amphibian Population Management Guidelines recommends a minimum of 20 pairs of found animals).


If sufficient founders have not been collected, is there an ongoing search for additional founders?


Is the ex situ population managed by nationals from the range country?


What tools are used to maximize retention of genetic diversity?


Has the population produced viable offspring?


Have the first generation captive-bred animals bred successfully?


Is the ex situ population housed in permanent isolation from other populations occurring outside its range?


Is work being supported to study and mitigate threats to the species in the wild, either by the institution or by a regional wildlife agency?


Have captive-bred or captive-reared animals been released into the wild?


If releases were undertaken, have disease screening protocols or veterinary health checks been conducted prior to releases to the wild?

Is follow-up work being carried out to monitor progress of the released animals?

Is the taxon again secure in the wild, even if it might still require some ongoing in situ management? i.e. has the need for a captive assurance population been obviated such that we can call this a successfully terminated captive rescue program?



This population was established at short notice on rediscovery of the species at one pond. It currently functions as an experimental population to develop husbandry methods while the status in the wild is ascertained. Field work has discovered two further ponds in recent years as well as rediscovering two Isthmohyla spp previously thought to be extinct. The future of the ex situ programme will depend upon the outcomes of field work and may include in-country head-starting and translocation.
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