The Conservation Regulator has made an exciting find in Far East Gippsland, with a vulnerable frog species discovered during forest protection surveys for the first time since the 2019/20 bushfires.

Giant burrowing frogAlmost 330 Giant Burrowing Frog tadpoles were found in ponds by Conservation Regulator contractors in the remote Maramingo area near Genoa as part of the Forest Protection Survey Program. Adult frogs were also recently seen and heard in forest areas near Nowa Nowa.

There were concerns the frogs, which are only found in Gippsland and parts of New South Wales, were wiped out after most of their habitat was destroyed during the summer bushfires.

Special protection zones have been created where the tadpoles and frogs were found to protect the immediate habitat needs of the species from timber harvesting.

The Giant Burrowing Frog is one of six frog species protected under the Code of Practice for Timber Production.

The frog surveys use a range of techniques including hi tech remote audio recorders to detect frog calls. Tadpole searches of waterways and pools as well as night-time spotlighting are used to try to detect the frogs.

These surveys are conducted by highly qualified and experienced ecologists, that are engaged by the forest protection survey program.

The Forest Protection Survey Program aims to protect animals and plants that are either threatened or of high conservation value in areas of State forests that are scheduled to be harvested. More information can be found online:

https://www.forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/forest-management/forest-protection-survey-program.

Quotes attributable to Program Manager Forest Protection Survey Program Jamie Molloy:

"This is an exciting find for East Gippsland considering the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires and the uncertainty of how well the species may have survived."

“When threatened species are found, the Department sets up a special zone to protect it from timber harvesting. For Giant Burrowing Frogs that protection zone could cover 50 hectares of land or a 2km strip along a waterway.”

“The Giant Burrowing Frog is rarely seen in the wild and the Forest Protection Survey Program is allowing us to learn more about the vulnerable species.”