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Queensland hosts the highest number of extinct and critically endangered frog species in Australia. Amongst these frogs are five of the six species of Tinkerfrog, genus Taudactylus. The Tinkerfrogs are a group of small, cryptic and rarely seen frogs that live in mountain stream environments in eastern Queensland. The Kroombit Tinkerfrog is a critically endangered species restricted to a handful of narrow rainforest gullies within Kroombit Tops National Park, Central Queensland. Kroombit Tinkerfrog populations are affected by habitat degradation caused by introduced pest species and bush fires, however the amphibian chytrid fungus is likely to be the most significant factor in the decline of this species. The Kroombit Tinkerfrog recovery program was established to prevent the extinction of this species in the wild.
Tinkerfrogs got their name from their unique ‘tink, tink, tink’ sound. It sounds like two tiny pieces of metal being hit together.
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The in-situ (in the wild) component of the Kroombit Tinkerfrog recovery program includes monitoring of population trends through frog-searches and acoustic monitoring of calling frogs, as well as regular assessment of relative numbers of pest species and their impacts to the habitats of Kroombit Tops National Park. Pest control measures are currently focused on reducing the numbers of pest animals in the National Park as well as fencing off critical Kroombit Tinkerfrog habitat to prevent access by feral pigs.
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The recovery plan for the Kroombit Tinkerfrog includes an ex-situ component (captive breeding) that is managed by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The aim of the ex-situ program is to release genetically diverse, captive bred frogs into the wild to supplement existing populations and repopulate sites where Kroombit Tinkerfrogs have gone locally extinct. In addition to serving as an insurance population against extinction in the wild, the ex-situ population of Kroombit Tinkerfrog is an important source of behavioral and reproductive information for this little-known species.
2008 - Establishment of the Frog Conservation and Research Facility (FCRF) at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary;
2009 - Liem's Tinkerfrogs collected from the wild and transferred to the FCRF at CWS;
2010 - Successful treatment protocol for Chytridiomycosis established for Liem's Tinkerfrogs;
2011 - First successful breeding of Liem's Tinkerfrog in captivity;
2014 - First successful breeding of captive bred and reared Liem's Tinkerfrog;
2018 - Kroombit Tinkerfrogs collected from the wild and transferred to the FCRF at CWS;
2019 - First successful breeding of Kroombit Tinkerfrog in captivity and the first time that eggs have been observed for this species;
2019 - Kroombit Tinkerfrog eggs hatched and the first time that tadpoles have been observed for this species;
2020 – First captive Kroombit Tinkerfrog tadpole fully metamorphed into a froglet
2021 - Welcome to our Tinkerfrog Co-ordinator, Michael Vella; by the end of 2021 we have 84 captive bred Kroombit Tinkerfrogs
2022 – Construction of the new Amphibian Conservation Facility has begun! We are seeking funding to support our work with the Kroombit Tinkerfrog recovery program.
2023 – First captive bred Kroombit Tinkerfrogs released into the wild.