The Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea is a threatened species, having declined greatly in abundance throughout its range in recent decades. In 1994, Taronga Zoo, Sydney, established a captive population of bell frogs, after obtaining a small number of frogs from a suburban site planned for development. Our aim was to maintain and breed bell frogs in captivity and to provide progeny for release at suitable sites in order to establish new and self-sustaining populations. The program later expanded to include bell frogs from two other locations in New South Wales.
Successful breeding has been regularly achieved and fourth generation captive-bred individuals have been released. Approximately 20,000 tadpoles and metamorph frogs were provided for release at five sites between 1996 and 2004, although no new populations of bell frogs were established. Education has been another key component of this program at Taronga Zoo, with school and community groups actively involved in releases, monitoring and habitat restoration. One outcome of this component was the creation of an interactive CD-ROM, to provide an educational resource on frog conservation, that was distributed to schools and various community groups Australia-wide.