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Extinct Frog to Return

Extinct Frog to Return

Community Groups Can Get Involved in the Project

The distinctive call of the Growling Grass Frog could soon be heard again in the north east.

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The species is locally extinct, but Winton Wetlands has received funding to work on reintroducing it to the area once again.

Winton Wetlands Restoration Ecologist Dr Lisa Farnsworth says there is a small population found near Bendigo, and they hope to take some of the frogs from there.

The $51,000 in funding from the Ross Trust and Wettenhall Environment Trust has helped them refurbish the old yacht club into a freshwater research facility, where they will house and breed the frogs.

"They're important in the food chain - predatory birds use them as an important food source," explains Dr Farnsworth.

"They were here and they were happy here 50 odd years ago, so it would be good to bring them back into that food web."

She says they had to look at why the frog went extinct in the first place, which includes problems with water quality, reduced habitat and the damaging chytrid fungus.

But they are hopeful the program will be a success, and then they can look at reintroducing other species, like freshwater turtles.

"We're also looking at a wildlife sanctuary space where we can remove feral animals and look at reintroducing some other fluffy, furry species like Bettongs, so it's all pretty exciting stuff," says Dr Farnsworth.

She also said that local groups and schools can take part in the "Growing Grub for Growlers" project, where they grow veggies to be fed to the frogs once they arrive.

"It's a good chance to grow some food for them, but also to come down and see how we're housing them and get a closer look at the species too."

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