On September 24th, 2013, 12 contributors from 7 organisations met in Canberra to formulate a strategy for the genetic management of captive southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree), as part of the recovery effort for the species. The workshop was facilitated by the IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.
The southern corroboree frog is restricted to the sub-alpine zone of the Snowy Mountains Region of Kosciuszko National Park in Australia. The species has been in continual decline for almost 30 years and in 2013, for the first time, no signs of breeding were observed outside captivity. Extinction in the wild is expected within the next 2-3 years. The primary threat is chytridiomycosis, which is caused by infection with the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus.
The current hope for the species is that sustained exposure to the chytrid fungus will eventually result in the emergence of resistance in wild populations, or that research will identify other mechanisms by which management can facilitate the establishment of self-sustaining populations. Recovery team efforts are therefore focussed on re-establishing and sustaining a genetically diverse and abundant population of the species within its natural range, using a range of techniques which include an efficient and well-targeted program of captive breeding and release.
Despite the daunting prognosis, this recovery program stands out as an excellent model of innovative, committed, science-based collaboration between the field, captive and academic communities.
At present then, the release program is open-ended. A fifty-year time-frame was used to guide discussions.