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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 4163..

In reality, the watering regime for the Wollemi Pines in the Arboretum is variable. Watering volumes are determined based on a weekly assessment of soil moisture levels. Water sourced from either a bore or the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre is stored on site in a tank and pumped into a dripper system on an 'as needs' basis. Recent rains have negated any requirement for onsite watering.

Environment—corroborree frogs

(Question No 1783)

Dr Foskey asked the Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, upon notice, on 21 November 2007:

(1) What are the key identified threats to the survival of the Corroborree frogs in the wild;

(2) What is the Government doing to ensure that released frogs will not suffer the same decline as the wild frogs.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The key threat to Corroboree Frogs in the wild is an introduced pathogen, Chytrid fungus. Chytrid fungus has been listed as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. It has caused the mass decline of frogs world-wide and in some cases, extinction. The fungus appears to have originated in Africa and spread due to the live trade of amphibians. The disease first appeared in Australia in the late 1970s but was not identified as a new species fungus affecting frogs until the late 1990s.

(2) Whilst there is much research being conducted world-wide on Chytrid fungus, it is unlikely that the disease will be eradicated from the wild. However, a number of frog species whose populations declined due to Chytrid, are now showing signs of recovery. It appears that if frog populations survive the initial epidemic, there is the potential to develop a level of resistance. The recovery of wild populations of Corroboree Frogs is dependent on developing a natural resistance to the fungus. A key aim of the Corroboree Frog Recovery Program is to raise large numbers of frogs in captivity and then release back into the wild, to assist in the persistence of wild populations exposed to the fungus, and enable natural selection for resistance. Eggs from more resistant frogs that breed in the wild are collected and raised in captivity to breed strains of more resistant frogs. However, the first challenge is to breed Corroboree Frogs in captivity to maintain the species.

To date breeding Corroboree Frogs in captivity has been largely unsuccessful in the institutions with southern Corroboree Frogs in captivity (Melbourne Zoo; Taronga Zoo; and the Melbourne Amphibian Research Centre). The first trials to breed northern Corroboree Frogs will occur this summer at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, although the oldest of these captive frogs (4 years old) may still be too young to breed.

Action 35 in the ACT Government's Climate Change Strategy, the Sphagnum Bog Mapping and Recovery Plan, acknowledges the intrinsic ecological values of the Corroboree Frogs habitat. An active sphagnum bog rehabilitation program has been underway following the 2003 fires.

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