Secret locations, boiler suits and health checks...

by FrogBlog on

... welcome to the intriguing, but extremely important world of amphibian conservation!

Amphibians are facing a global extinction crisis, but you may not know that we’re losing species on our very own doorstep.  One example is the pool frog, which disappeared from English ponds in the 1990s.

We were asked to take part in a collaborative project with Natural England and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to reintroduce pool frogs back into England.
Reintroducing a frog that used to live here may seem fairly straight-forward, but in fact there are many hoops to go through before you can let them hop off into the sunset.  The pool frogs for this project came from Swedish populations, so one of the major risks was the introduction of a foreign disease.

Wildlife disease is one of the main areas of research here at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, so we were charged with providing Natural England with a rigorous review of all the disease risks associated with reintroducing the frogs, and screening the individual frogs intended for release.
In 2005 permission was granted to commence the reintroduction and so on a warm summer’s day that year we drove to a secret location in the east of England to examine the first frogs for reintroduction.

This is definitely not a job for the fashion-conscious, as strict biosecurity measures mean that we were dressed head-to-toe in white boiler suits, wellington boots and gloves!

Over a 3 year reintroduction period and through subsequent post-release health monitoring we carried out regular health checks on the pool frogs and I am pleased to say that they are thriving in their new home.
This spring we’re revisiting the reintroduction sites to do health checks on all the native amphibians to find out whether they’ve been impacted by their new neighbours.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to health check a common frog

Select a blog

Artefact of the month

Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.

Asia Conservation Programme

Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.

B.U.G.S Blog

Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.

ZSL Shop

See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.

Wild About Magazine

Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!

Discovery and Learning in the Field

Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.


Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs


ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.

Tiger conservation

Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.

Videographer Blog

One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.

Wild Science

From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Wildlife Wood Project Cameroon

The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.

Penguin expedition blog

Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica

Amur Leopard

Amur leopard conservation blog

Baby Giraffe Diaries

Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!

Biodiversity and Palm Oil

Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.


Science blogs

Tsaobis Baboon Blog

Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.