Progress of the Philoria frosti program
at Melbourne Zoo


Philoria frosti

Common Name(s)

Baw Baw Frog

Region where program is based


Country where program is based


The authority that recommended this species for an ex situ program

Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment

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

Melbourne 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

Deon Gilbert of Melbourne Zoo

Has a Taxon Management Group or Recovery Team been established?

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


Have Husbandry Guidelines been written?


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

1.Husbandry techniques to raise, maintain and breed Baw Baw Frogs in captivity. 2.Techniques to reliably estimate wild population size. 3.Potential impacts of climate change on wild population. 4. Techniques for successful reintroduction.

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?



2020: For the first time, adult Baw Baw Frogs have been released to the wild. 25 pairs of captive-bred frogs, fitted with radio transmitters, have been released on the Baw Baw Plateau. The program's scientists say the release of adult frogs represents a conservation breakthrough and they have been surprised by how far, and fast, the elusive frogs have travelled since they were set free. 2013: Zoos Victoria has permits to collect 2 egg masses as the first phase in a long-term project to develop and publish captive rearing and breeding protocols. Collection of the one egg mass in December 2011 and the subsequent emergence of tadpoles and early rearing of metamorphs greatly increased our knowledge of the species' biology and captive requirements. Improvements to the Melbourne Zoo facility have been undertaken to address the inadequate temperature control experienced in the 2011-12 summer, and a team is in the field now (mid-November 2012) to collect a second egg mass.
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