Scientists  at the Victorian zoo have successfully hatched Baw Baw Frogs in captivity for the very first time! The Baw Baw Frog is internationally recognized as critically endangered with only 2500 individuals remaining in the wild. Unfortunately factors such as environmental degredation, climate change and the fungus chytrid have contributed to the Baw Baw Frog’s downfall. Let’s find out more about how the Melbourne Zoo managed this amazing accomplishment!  
Photo Credit: Rachid Lamzah via Compfight cc
So how were these particular Baw Baw Frogs bred exactly? According to the Melbourne Zoo, two massive gloop piles which consisted of 160-200 eggs were harvested from Mt Baw Baw at the end of last year and stored in a bunker in temperatures between seven and 13 degrees. Scientists carefully monitored the bunker’s water flow and oxygen levels and regularly tested for any signs of bacteria that may harm the eggs. The tadpoles, when hatched, appeared as creamy translucent white which means researchers had to analyse them under infrared light only. Three months after the frogs hatched, they become metamorphs, meaning they can breath air but still retain a bit of their tadpole tail. The froglets have been fed a special diet which consists of spring tails (a type of inveterbrate) and newly-hatched pinhead crickets. 

All in all, the researchers managed to successfully breed 68 mottled grey-brown Baw Baw Froglets in captivity.  One of the leading researchers, Mr Kuyper, commented that it has been an enlightening experience and his fellow team continue to gather as much knowledge as possible about the Baw Baw Frog. Scientists are ever hopeful that this feat is not a once off, with aims for more froglets being born at Melbourne Zoo. If enough Baw Baw Frogs are effectively bred, this may preserve these precious frogs from extinction. We remain eternally optimistic! Good work Melbourne Zoo!

The Victorian Zoo actually previously tried to breed Baw Baw Frogs, but were unsuccessful during the transitory period of tadpole to young frog stage. Researchers claim that they are quite unsure on how best to raise the Baw Baw Frogs as very minute information is known about them. For example, there is much confusion over whether they should feed the tadpoles or if the egg sac provided enough nutrients. Although their first failure did not dissuade the researchers and the second time, they were more victorious in their efforts.