Rare frogs found in the forests of South East Asia have bred for the first time at Chester Zoo - a European first.
The 43 cinnamon frogs are the only amphibians of their kind to hatch in any zoo in the world in nearly two years.
Team manager of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, Ben Baker, said: “It’s really exciting that we have bred these unusual and very sensitive frogs, especially as we’re the first zoo in Europe to ever do so.
“Cinnamon frogs are a secretive species and live in a very, very specialised environment. Their ideal habitat is incredibly limited and so, as with many frog species around the world, they are extremely fragile. Currently they are listed as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but with population sizes decreasing due to widespread habitat loss, the species is likely to become threatened in the near future.
“Relatively little is actually known about the cinnamon frog and so we now hope to learn a lot from our new arrivals. The delicate work the team has put in to getting these beautiful but complex animals to breed and all of the intensive care we’re now giving them will help us to build up our knowledge base. This kind of information can be invaluable for the long-term protection of the species.”
To encourage the frogs to breed, keepers recreated conditions to mimic the tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra, where the species come from.
“Water-filled cavities and rotting logs are really important to help the cinnamon frogs to breed. The ponds they are found in tend to be sat amongst trees and so, with lots of bark and fallen leaves in the water, the PH is low due to build-up of acid,” said Mr Baker.
“We designed our enclosure to mirror this as closely as possible and we’re thrilled that it has resulted in 43 baby frogs.”
The zoo’s group of cinnamon frogs will move to a brand new exhibit when Islands , a new £30m development, opens later this year.
Cinnamon tree frog facts
- The Latin name for the species is Nyctixalus pictus
- Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK keeping the species
They are currently classed as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Widespread habitat loss, due to agriculture and logging, is seeing population sizes decrease meaning that the species is likely to become threatened in the near future
- The species is found in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan in the Philippines