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Release the Frogs!
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Release the Frogs!

There will be some closures on Te Māhanga track from May until the end of June as part of a very exciting project to release the population of  pepeketua/Hamilton’s Frogs from their enclosures later this year. 

Pepeketua/Hamilton’s frogs were released into Zealandia in 2005 and 2012 and are currently the only wild population on the mainland. These frogs (now considered the same species as Maud Island frog) are one of three native frog species and are one of the world’s most endangered frogs. Frogs are incredibly sensitive to introduced predators as well as disease and pollution due to their sensitive skin.

When pepeketua were originally released at Zealandia, it was not understood how kiwi and mice would impact them. Therefore, some were released into enclosures that excluded mice and kiwi while others were released into a ‘kiwi-proof’ fenced area (which is great at keeping kiwi out but not frogs in!). The pens were always meant to be temporary, and surveys undertaken over the years have revealed both survival and breeding outside the pens. Additionally, during recent surveys we observed that frogs outside the pens were healthier than those inside, so we – along with Frog Recovery and with support from tangata whenua – feel that releasing the enclosed frogs is the best option for them.

Following advice from the Frog Recovery Group, a long boardwalk will be built on Te Māhanga track before the frogs are released. The boardwalk will have an overhang that will prevent frogs from climbing on it, keeping them safe from people walking in the sanctuary in the dark. We are immensely grateful for the generous financial support of the John Nankervis Estate in building this boardwalk. 
Zealandia is the only place outside of remote offshore islands where people can see these beautiful critters, and this population allows us at Zealandia to answer questions that have implications for the conservation of this species at a national level.  

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates on the track closures, or give our front desk a call for an update. 


Hero Image: Hamilton's Frog. Photo by Tom Lynch. 

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