I’ve had a busy week here on Te Hoiere (Maud Island) with the annual monitoring of the Maud Island frog population by researchers from Victoria University in Wellington.
Associate Professor Ben Bell has been monitoring these frogs for 35 years now and this year I was around to lend the team a wing.
Every night we searched the monitoring plots for these ancient frogs. Prof. Bell and I know each frog personally so we can keep track of how they’re doing and where they’re living.
Maud Island frogs are not the well-travelled animals that I am. In fact, they have one of the smallest home-ranges of any vertebrate and don’t move more than a meter or two in a decade! For such little things they also live for a really long time – 35 to 40 years.
Skraaaarrrk! Unlike me, our native frogs don’t make any noise (except a tiny little chirp when they are really upset!). So, if you hear frogs croaking in your garden pond, it’ll be one of the three introduced species that you’re listening to.
We only have four of our seven native frog species left and, like me and my species, they are facing a pretty tough time! Introduced predators, habitat destruction and disease make life tough for these amazing amphibians.