ZOO Wroclaw Face to face with the ugliest frog in the world
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Face to face with the ugliest frog in the world

2020-03-06
Face to face with the ugliest frog in the world

At the Wrocław zoo you can see frogs from Titicaca. We've opened a new terrarium exhibit.

One of the rarest and most endangered animal species can already be seen in the Wrocław zoo's Terrarium. We are talking about Titicaca frogs. These frogs are very demanding tenants. We built a tank designed just for them; it has a water cooling system, an external filter and special lighting.

There are around 7,000 species of tailless amphibians in the world, commonly known as frogs. They occur almost everywhere, except Antarctica, Arctic and Greenland. However, the occurrence of individual species is territorially limited, there are no cosmopolitan species among them. This is due to the high sensitivity to environmental conditions and predation.

They are a very important element of the ecosystem - they constitute the food base for countless species of animals, stabilize the population of insects and are an indicator of clean water. Additionally they have merits for humanity, even in medicine or nanotechnology. Meanwhile, they belong to the fastest dying group of animals in the world. Almost everything threatens their existence: climate change, including increased ultraviolet radiation, dropping groundwater levels and disappearance of natural water reservoirs, environmental pollution - both water and air, expansion of fungal diseases, development of agriculture and urbanization with its roads and railways. A growing threat, especially for the group of proper frogs, is harvesting for frogs' legs and pseudo medications. That is why, it is so important now to use every opportunity to talk about these amphibians and the threats they face in their natural environment. It's also a way to show people they can too love frogs, and be good neighbors to them.

We asked one of the zoo keepers from the Terrarium, Tomasz Czerwonajcio, why frogs are worth loving. -When we delve into the knowledge of frogs, we will discover an infinitely fascinating world. In this world we observe a whole range of different ways of moving, obtaining food, reproduction, avoiding dangers, dealing with adverse environmental conditions and finally mating behavior. Amphibians are sensitive to environmental changes- they have delicate skin and their reproduction depends on water. They can be very pretty, but they are secretive. Observing them takes time and patience, but it's worth it. Male frogs sing; in some species take care of their offspring and have different strategies for incubating squawk. Unfortunately, they are also poorly adapted to changes in temperature, quantity and quality of water.

The Terrarium of the Wrocław zoo is one of the leading institutions in Europe in terms of the number of species and experience, supported by numerous successes in husbandry and reproduction of endangered, little-known species. Here live, among others, 42 species of frogs.

This one of the largest and most diverse collection of frogs in European gardens. It is not surprising this zoo was chosen by the conservation breeding coordinator, for breeding frogs from Lake Titicaca, South America. These frogs belong to the species extremely threatened with extinction. In the last 15 years, their population has decreased by 80% in nature. They are also considered difficult to keep due to their biology; they require specific living conditions, including maintaining water temperature between 6 and 13ºC. Additionally, a bacteria and virus free environment is a must. Frogs of this species are not resistant to microorganisms from our region of the world. Conservation breeding was initiated by the zoo in Denver and currently this species can be found in 20 zoos around the world, where 494 individuals live. 15 frogs arrived in Wrocław in March 2019. They were placed in a specially prepared, sterile room in the back of the Terrarium. In July, the first 50 tadpoles hatched. When they matured, they were moved to the exhibit open to the public. Now we have over 400 new tadpoles!

- At the beginning of March 2019, when we were showing you a new species in the back room of the Terrarium, I announced that everyone would soon be able to see this miracle of nature with their own eyes. I admit that I didn't think it would happen so soon. Less than a year after their arrival at the Wrocław Zoo, I am pleased to present a tank with frogs from Titicaca. I hope that thanks to conservation breeding such as this, we will be able to save in zoos as many endangered species as possible. - said the president of the Wrocław zoo - Radosław Ratajszczak.

The exhibit is located on the first floor of the Terrarium, in the vicinity of the Butterfly House. It has been specially prepared for the requirements of this species of frogs - the water is specially cooled, cleaned with an external filter, and special lighting has been installed. All the frogs feel good in this tank and visitors can observe them.

- This is the beginning of the road to building a safe population of this species in zoos, because in nature they basically have no chance of survival. The first batch will stay with us, but the next one will go to the world. - adds the president of the zoo and encourages visiting and observing the new residents.

The mission of ZOO Wrocław is to conduct educational activities and protect endangered species. These assumptions are implemented both inside and outside the zoo. As part of species protection, the zoo is actively involved in conservative breeding of endangered or already extinct in nature species of animals. Zoo Wrocław is also committed to saving animals in the wild. By visiting Zoo Wrocław, and especially choosing the "SAVING WILDLIFE" admission ticket, visitors help save many species of animals - from Indian rhinoceroses to Titicaca frogs. You can also support conservation activities through the Dodo Foundation. Contributions can be made as part of public collections, by transfers and by donating 1% of your tax to the Dodo Foundation (KRS 0000623492): PKO Bank Polski SA 1 o / Wrocław, account number: 89 1020 5226 0000 6102 0547 2040.

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