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Friday, July 12, 2013

A large group of native frogs living in a Surfers Paradise pond have found a new home at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, thanks to a partnership with Gold Coast light rail.

A Tusked Frog’s call pricked the ear of the Gold Coast light rail’s Environment and Sustainability Manager who recognised the unusual noise.

Project Director for McConnell Dowell Simon Bradbury said during a three-day search for the Tusked Frogs – which are protected and listed as vulnerable – the environment team hoped to find at least six amphibians to relocate but instead found 75.

The find included larger males with tusks on their lower jaw, females and juveniles.

GoldLinQ’s construction and design partners McConnell Dowell and Bombardier have partnered with the Sanctuary to support the frogs for the next three years.

“To keep the frogs safe, we thoroughly planned their relocation from the Golden Gate building’s pond and have partnered with the Sanctuary to support the frogs for the next three years,” Mr Bradbury said.

“This number of frogs is very unusual in this restricted space and we have surprised everyone with the find.”

Bombardier’s Rail Project Delivery Director Ian Corfield said the project team was pleased to be able to help the frog family while delivering light rail for the Gold Coast.

“We suspect they were originally brought into the site with landscaping materials,” Mr Corfield said.

“With trams operating next year, it is a good opportunity to relocate the frogs from this man-made pond to a nicer environment away from highways and vehicles.”

Griffith University’s Professor Jean-Marc Hero said Tusked Frogs were associated with quiet sections of rocky streams and rocky streamside ponds in the Gold Coast hinterland, commonly found in Numinbah Valley along the Nerang River, Currumbin and Tallebudgera creeks.

“Historically this species was widely distributed however in the last 20 years it has disappeared from the upland areas and west of the dividing range and is unusual for it to be found in Surfers Paradise,” he said.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary spokesman Matt Hingley said: “It’s commendable that the relevant parties involved with the discovery of the Tusk Frog in Surfers Paradise have committed to extensive efforts regarding the location and collection of each and every frog. “

“By carefully securing each individual and transferring them to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for quarantine care and disease treatment it demonstrates a responsible and nurturing attitude regarding the future of our vulnerable species,” he said.

Tusked Frog facts:

The Tusked Frog is generally brown and often with low ridges, warts and irregular darker markings. Easily mistaken from the top as a toad, but flip the frog over and you will see a distinctive black and white pattern on its belly. The bright red markings around its groin are also distinctive of this frog.

However it is the small tusk-like protrusions on the bottom of the jaw of the frog that gives it its name. These tusks are in fact modified teeth and are used by the males to fight and bite each other around the head. This too explains why the males have much larger (and disproportionate) heads than the females