How you can help
1. Support our appeal to help save Australia's frogs
Your donation will help us to carry out research and engagement efforts to help save Australia's frogs.
Thanks to your support, we have documented that thousands of frogs of over 40 species died last winter, and unfortunately continue to be reported sick and dead this winter. Our investigation is ongoing, but PCR tests by our team have determined that the amphibian chytrid fungus is involved, although likely not the only factor involved.
With your help, the Australian Museum Herpetology team is:
- Working with partners to determine the cause(s) of the event.
- Analysing FrogID data collected across Australia to determine the sites and species that require urgent, targeted fieldwork.
- Carrying out fieldwork to determine the health of frogs in the wild, and whether or not mortality associated with this event has caused frog population declines.
- Recommending mitigation and conservation actions to Government, local councils and conservation groups.
Please make a donation and support our urgent appeal.
Donations of $2 and over are fully tax-deductible*.
2. Download and record frog calls with the free FrogID app
FrogID is the Australian Museum’s flagship citizen science project that is helping us learn more about where frogs are distributed and what is happening to Australia’s frogs. All around the country, people are recording frog calls with the free FrogID app.
Your FrogID submissions will help understand what impact this mortality event is having on Australia’s frog populations now and into the future.
3. If you observe a sick or dead frog
Please email your observation (including photos and location information - if possible) to the FrogID team at email@example.com who are helping respond to the outbreak.
We urgently need reports and samples of affected frogs to understand the scale of this event and how we can mitigate its impact.
The Australian Museum’s Herpetology department is working closely with Australian Registry of Wildlife Health and government biosecurity and environment agencies to understand the scale of the mass frog deaths, leading the research to understand the likely causes.
Watch our past webinar
Listen to our webinar with the Australian Museum’s Chief Scientist & Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, Professor Kris Helgen and the Australian Museum’s Amphibian & Reptile Curator, Dr Jodi Rowley to learn more about this serious conservation issue impacting Australia’s frog species.
Most frog species in eastern Australia are inactive at this time of year, yet we are receiving hundreds of reports of dead frogs, or frogs out in the daytime in winter, lethargic and with inflamed skin, reflecting a significant alteration of behaviour and condition. The scale and potential impact of this event is alarming and our ability to mitigate its impact hinges on an urgent diagnosis.
The Australian Museum and Australian Registry of Wildlife - Taronga Conservation Society Australia, have led the response to this event alongside government biosecurity and environment agencies and urgently require support to determine the scale of the mortality event, make a diagnosis, and understand the impacts on frog populations.
- Washington Post: Thousands of frogs are dying in Australia. Scientists aren’t sure why
- Sydney Morning Herald: 'A complicated murder mystery': What’s killing Sydney’s frogs
- ABC Coffs Coast: Mystery frog deaths continue across Australia for second consecutive winter
- The Conversation: Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why
- The Conversation: Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why
- ABC Radio National Sunday Extra: Help scientists find out what's killing frogs in Eastern Australia
- The Guardian: ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs
- Cosmos Magazine: Dr Jodi Rowley on frog mortality
All money raised to assist the research, engagement and communication relating to the mass mortality event of Australian frogs, will be held in trust by the Australian Museum (AM) or Australian Museum Foundation (AMF) for the general or particular purpose for which it was raised. In the event that the AM or AMF receives more funds that are required or are unable to use the donated funds towards this project, donations will either be used for a similar project(s) into frog research, or the funds will be returned, and the associated tax receipt will no longer be valid.
Some steps we can take to minimise the possibility of transfer of disease from one site to another is to clean and disinfect our footwear, equipment and vehicles between locations.
For more detailed information on hygiene protocols that can be used for frogs, please see here.
If you observe a sick or dead frog, please email your observation (including photos and location information, if possible) to the Australian Museum’s FrogID team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New information on collection procedures, authorised vets and agencies becomes available each day and every report will receive a tailored response.
Please wear a new pair of disposable gloves (or new plastic bags) for each frog and wash hands thoroughly after handling to avoid any potential spread of diseases. It is important that a clean pair of gloves or a clean bag is used for each frog. Used bags can be placed in your general rubbish bin.
For more information on safe handling of frogs, please visit https://arwh.org/amphibian-disease-knowledgebase/.
Sick frogs typically need urgent veterinary care, but it can be difficult to tell when a frog is sick. Please contact the Australian Museum’s FrogID team at email@example.com and we will help you assess the frog and connect you to a local vet that is aware of this event and has the necessary information to test/treat sick frogs.
If you are a vet that is interested in helping us, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will add you to our team of collaborators and send you relevant information.
More information is available here.
At this stage, we are only receiving reports of sick and dead adult frogs, but if you observe die-offs of tadpoles in your area, please contact the Australian Museum FrogID team at email@example.com. Please include photos and location information, if possible.
We still have a lot to learn about what’s causing the current mass die-off of frogs across eastern Australia and how it can impact the broader environment and other species.
The amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is only known to infect frogs and other amphibians, causing chytridiomycosis, a disease that is unique to amphibians. Although it is possible that other animals may transfer the pathogen from one area to another, no other animal groups are known to be infected by this pathogen. Indeed, the fungus does not tolerate human or mammal body temperatures well, preferring cooler temperatures.
The amphibian chytrid fungus is particularly detrimental to amphibians such as frogs because it attacks the keratin in the skin, and frogs rely heavily on their skin, including to help breathe and drink.
This disease is the major suspect in causing this current mass die-off, but at this stage we simply don’t know, and we need to rule out a range of other pathogens, toxins and stressors. The Australian Museum is working with the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health and other state and federal conservation and biosecurity agencies to determine what is causing this frog mortality event- and we need your help!
For more information on amphibian chytrid fungus, please visit the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at https://arwh.org/amphibian-disease-knowledgebase/.
Certain frog species are more susceptible to the amphibian chytrid fungus than others, and the impacts of infection can vary dramatically depending on environmental conditions.
Some species that suffered dramatic declines due to the amphibian chytrid fungus have been ‘bouncing back’ in recent years, providing hope that some frog populations are becoming more resistant- much research is underway across Australia, and indeed the world.
For detailed information on the history of amphibian chytrid fungus, please visit the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at https://arwh.org/amphibian-disease-knowledgebase/.
Thanks to you, the FrogID project is an incredibly powerful dataset for understanding the impacts of weather, climate, and catastrophic events such as the 2019/2020 bushfires on our frogs and the environment.
Building the FrogID dataset now and into the future helps increase our capacity to answer as many questions as possible and understand the population level impacts on our frogs. Please keep recording frog calls with the FrogID app whenever you hear them. For more information visit www.frogid.net.au.
We will be working closely with organisations across the country to consider all possible causes to this terrible die-off event.
Everyone can assist by recording frog calls with the free FrogID app to help us understand how frogs are doing across the country.
Limiting chemical use, reducing pollution, controlling invasive fish populations, and providing more frog-friendly habitat can also help boost healthy frog numbers. Providing or protecting habitat for local threatened species is particularly important. You can use the FrogID app to find local threatened species and learn more about them and their habitat requirements. Your Local Land Services or other local government agencies should be able to assist, and feel free to reach out to the FrogID team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleaning and disinfecting footwear and tyres, and not translocating frogs and tadpoles from one location to another helps limit the risk of disease transfer. Once we understand the cause of this mortality event we will be able to provide advice on things you can do to help your local frogs in the face of it.
Donations to support our urgent appeal to help save Australia’s frogs can also be made below.
Yes, Cane Toads can also be affected by the amphibian chytrid fungus and are currently being reported dead and dying along with our native frogs. Please report unusual observations of Cane Toad deaths to the FrogID team.
We know that the amphibian chytrid fungus is involved, with most of the dead frogs gathered so far and tested at the Australian Museum being positive for this pathogen. However, we are still working towards understanding what other factors may be involved.
Only with your help can we get the samples we need to understand the cause of this event. We will update you as soon as we can.
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