Spotted tree frog numbers set to bounce back


The Spotted Tree Frog


For years, our iconic, native Spotted tree frog has faced a double threat that was proving too much to bear: introduced predatory fish (trout) were eating their tadpoles, and a terrible fungus was killing adult frogs. As a result, the species has disappeared from 50% of its former habitat, with only 8 of the previous 14 known populations remaining, and fewer than 12,000 frogs still in existence.


Conservation Volunteers is proud to be working with the Threatened Species Recovery Hub in partnership with Dr Matt West from Wild Research (Melbourne University), Taungurung Land and Waters Council, The Australian Trout Foundation, DELWP, Taronga Zoo and Zoos Victoria, and with the support of Cadbury Mondelez through the Dairy Milk Freddo chocolate Helping Save the Frogs campaign. This project is removing threats to the spotted tree frog populations and bringing numbers back from the brink of extinction. Having identified the gravity of the threat to the critically endangered Spotted tree frog over 10 years ago, huge thanks go out to our partners at Cadbury for making this project possible.


Removing trout: Photo by Dr Matt West


To date (since 2020), and despite the extremely tough conditions and narrow timeframes (with only three weeks per year where conditions allow the team to access the river where they live), the teams have successfully removed over 8,000 non-native predatory trout from the remaining frog habitat areas. The Spotted tree frogs, at last, can begin to live in relative peace.


Relocating trout: Photo by Dr Matt West


Long-term and widespread gains for nature


According to the Spotted Tree Frog Recovery team, the Spotted tree frog takes a while to mature (taking up to 4 to 6 years to reach adulthood), which means it will take one to two years before we see the hoped-for radical changes in population figures. That’s also why the project must run over a minimum of 5/6 years to have a chance of succeeding. An immediate side benefit of this project, however, has been the welcome increase of the native Two-spined blackfish population to the area, which the team will also continue to monitor. It is likely that the removal of the feral trout has allowed the blackfish to re-establish in their previously held habitat.


Litoria spenceri: Photo by Dr Matt West


Positive social impacts of this project


There are many distractions in the world we live in today, and time in nature is sometimes difficult to build in to our busy schedules. With projects such as this, made possible with the support of our partners, nature is brought back into the conversation for many people who don’t always get as much time in nature as they’d like to. And by using such a well-loved icon as Cadbury’s Freddo to carry the message, people of all ages are able to think about and connect with our beautiful natural world, and with the wildlife who call it home.



Find out more about our high-impact Tree frog project with Cadbury, here.





This project is supported by Cadbury Mondelez through the Dairy Milk Freddo chocolate Helping Save the Frogs campaign.
Wild Futures