Another leap forward to save a rare Sydney frog colony

The largest remaining Sydney population of a rare frog, found in the heart of the city's former Olympic precinct, is set to continue its gold-medal performance thanks to a new priority managed site status from the NSW Government.

Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea

The endangered Green and Golden Bell frog colony at Sydney Olympic Park has benefited from over twenty-years of ecological restoration work, initiated by organisers of the 'Green Games' and now driven by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA), transforming former industrial land into 120 hectares of prime frog habitat including seventy specially constructed frog ponds.

In the year 2000, the restoration project was awarded the Gold Banksia Award, Australia's highest environmental award, and conservation works have been ongoing since that time.

Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Senior Threatened Species Officer Deb Ashworth said thanks to the SOPA team's valuable conservation efforts, which have greatly increased the long-term survival of this species, the Park is now a priority managed site under the NSW Government Saving Our Species (SoS) program.

"The SoS program recognises the successful habitat restoration at this site and has committed $5k in funding for education programs and workshops," Dr Ashworth said.

"This site is by far the largest remaining population of the Green and Golden Bell Frog in the greater Sydney Region and joins only seven other Green and Golden Bell Frog priority managed sites across NSW.

"This species has suffered major declines particularly from the deadly chytrid fungus that has no known cure. To boost the population, we now have eight resilient populations that are protected and managed.

"The Authority's frog habitat creation and management techniques are pioneering. They have created a unique frog sanctuary with a network of purpose-built ponds and wetlands that the frogs now call home and where successful breeding has occurred," Dr Ashworth said.

Sydney Olympic Park Authority's Senior Manager Environment & Ecology Kerry Darcovich said her ecology team welcome the Park's new status as a priority managed site.

"We are delighted as it signals continued management for frog conservation at this site and recognises the importance of the site for the species," Ms Darcovich said.

"The Green and Golden Bell frog faces a number of other threats including predation by Plague Minnow fish which feed on eggs and early stage tadpoles, reduction in water quality and prevalence of pest plants and diseases.

"Sydney Olympic Park is a living case study of bell frog habitat management techniques and offers a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge. Educational workshops that bring land managers and scientists together will help conservation of this species across New South Wales.

"Sydney Olympic Park's habitats also play an important ecological role for other animals and plant species including over a quarter of all bird species found in Australia, ten species of insectivorous bats, extensive mangrove wetlands and critically endangered remnant eucalypt forest," Ms Darcovich said.

The Green and Golden Bell Frog is between 4.5 and 10 cm long and usually a vivid green colour with bits of gold, bronze and brown.

To learn more visit: Green and Golden Bell Frog - profile