Frogs airlifted from a disease-ravaged island in the Caribbean have successfully bred for the first time at ZSL London Zoo.
Delivering a massive brood of 76, from just two females, the critically-endangered mountain chicken frogs’ offspring will be released back into a protected and disease-free area of the wild when they are fully grown.
The parent frogs were dramatically rescued from the island of Montserrat, in order to preserve and develop a healthy population of the animals which were otherwise facing extinction from the rapid spread of the Chytrid fungus; a disease fatal to most amphibians.
Housed in a bio-secure, temperature-controlled breeding unit at the Zoo, mum laid the eggs in a self-made foam nest and guarded them closely as they developed into tadpoles. Demonstrating fantastic mothering skills, she then fed the tadpoles every three to five days with unfertilised eggs.
ZSL’s Curator of Herpetology, Dr Ian Stephen said: “To say we’re delighted by this accomplishment is an understatement to say the least.
“These frogs are one of the most endangered animals on the planet, facing a range of threats from habitat loss, to over-hunting and most notably the spread of the Chytrid fungus.
“To have increased their numbers by 76 individuals is an incredible achievement for ZSL London Zoo and an incredible lifeline for the mountain chicken frog.”
The breeding triumph and the zookeepers’ elated reactions were captured on camera during filming for a brand new behind-the-scenes documentary series at ZSL London Zoo. The first episode of The Zoo will be aired this Sunday on ITV1 at 8:00pm.