Wildlife park celebrates breeding rare frogs left in ‘perilous state’ by infectious fungus

A cinnamon froglet sits in a keeper's hand at the wildlife park
A cinnamon froglet sits in a keeper's hand at the wildlife park - SWNS/COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK

A frog species endangered by an infectious fungus has been successfully bred for the second time by an Oxfordshire wildlife park.

Keepers at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford became only the second zoological collection in Europe to breed the cinnamon frog in 2019, and has now managed to repeat the achievement.

Only five other zoos in Europe keep the species, with one other successfully breeding the frogs in the last 12 months, according to the wildlife park.

The amphibians, known for their distinct reddish-brown colour, similar to cinnamon, and black-and-white spots across the body, are native to southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Sumatra.

Jamie Craig, the park general manager, said the species was in a “perilous state” because of the Chytrid fungus, an infectious disease in frogs.

Two of the first froglets to emerge
Two of the first froglets to emerge, which have all been named after spices - SWNS/COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK

He said: “Our dedicated reptile team have been working hard to perfect breeding techniques in our amphibian room.

“Many frog species have incredibly specific requirements, and it is a testament to their hard work that they have now managed to replicate our previous success with the cinnamon frogs.

“With the perilous state of many amphibian species in the world due to the Chytrid fungus, any expertise garnered from the captive populations may well be important tools for the future of these fascinating creatures.”

The cinnamon frog is known for its unique call, described by reptile keeper Megan Howard as “delicate, beautiful and unusual and so interesting to watch as they develop”.

The froglets, named after different spices including paprika, cayenne, saffron, chipotle and chilli, have already been filmed calling to each other.  They are being looked after in a specialist amphibian breeding room.

A worldwide Save The Frogs Day happens yearly on April 28 to raise awareness about the decline in frogs and aims to protect amphibians from extinction.