FROM deep growls and hearty croaks to high-pitched chirps, cackles and even the odd ‘ribbit’, Parks Victoria is calling on citizen scientists to help capture the distinct calls of frogs at Wilsons Promontory National Park this summer.

Following a rare sighting of the vulnerable Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) in the 50,000-hectare peninsula, local rangers are leading the first comprehensive survey of amphibians at Wilsons Prom.

Rangers are urging summer visitors to utilise FrogID as part of a community initiative to help record the first database of frogs across the diverse and expansive Wilsons Prom landscape.

Developed by the Australian Museum, this simple-to-use smartphone app makes it easy for everyday people to help conservation of threatened frog species. Whether a potential call is recorded from a hiking trail, tent or picnic spot, FrogID will identify it by using a network of experts, with in-built GPS confirming its exact location.

The vast terrain of Wilsons Prom presents an exciting opportunity to uncover the secrets of the Growling Grass Frog, or find new populations of threatened species living at the most southerly point of mainland Australia.

The Growling Grass Frog – one of the largest frogs in Australia, with a bright green to olive colouring and a warty back – has experienced a significant decline in population due to environmental pressures like climate change, feral animal predation and the devastating Chytrid fungus.

Frogs can be strong indicators of ecosystem health. The development of a database and input of valuable data by volunteers via FrogID will help Parks Victoria rangers and ecologists better target conservation efforts, adapt current management plans and respond to potential or upcoming threats to nature.

This initiative is being delivered as part of Parks Victoria’s Prom Sanctuary project, which will transform the much-loved national park into Victoria’s largest conservation sanctuary, a climate refuge where nature is cared for and native animals and plants thrive.

Parks Victoria Chief Scientist Conservation and Climate Action, Dr Mark Norman said there is a lot that residents can do to help in conservation efforts.

“Citizen science is a powerful tool and every frog call recorded will help build a clearer picture of frog populations and their chosen refuges at Wilsons Promontory National Park,” he said.

“We’re really keen for summer holiday goers and the local community to use FrogID to help local rangers cover this beautifully vast landscape.

“Their contributions will help us understand where to target our conservation efforts. From fighting Chytrid fungus, to increasing feral animal control and vegetation management around waterways, public help will support our most vulnerable species as another key component of the globally significant Prom Sanctuary project.”


Photos: Jeremy Tscharke

Tertiary Dune Wetland at Wilsons Promontory.