Fear Hexham frog colony has croaked

IN the 1970s Hexham was home to the second largest colony of green and golden bell frogs in the state.But stories of the amphibians' rapid decline have rung out across the region, with fears the frog community at Hexham may have leaped off the map.Hunter Region Landcare Network deputy chairman Rodney Parker-Wright said the colony, which had 200 frogs in 1999, had reached an "unknown status"."We don't know where those frogs are, whether they are still alive or if the colony has gone defunct. The search is still ongoing," Mr Parker-Wright said.He said urban encroachment and pollution were to blame for a 15 per cent drop in the endangered species across the region each year for the past three years a number that could decline further if required measures weren't taken."It could become 25 per cent very quickly," he said."We have 40 species of frogs in the Hunter, a quarter of them are endangered. If we don't relieve the pressures on their habitats we won't have 40 in 20 years, and the way the data is coming back, that is bound to be the outcome."Information sessions on how to protect the species will be held in Maitland, Abermain and Newcastle from tomorrow. To book call the Landcare Network on 4934 8110.

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