Policy and practice change result from research into and advocacy for the obscure Sloane's Froglet

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only

Abstract

Described in 1958, Sloane’s Froglet, Crinia sloanei, is poorly known. In 2008 it was listed as threatened in NSW in response to the decreasing number of sightings of it. We commenced fundamental research into the species’ detection, distribution and wetland scale and microhabitat requirements and concurrently advocated for its protection. We discovered a significant extant population adjacent to the Murray River in south-eastern Australia in peri-urban habitats under threat of immediate development. Sloane’s Froglet uses temporary and permanent wetlands. In breeding season (mid-winter) males call from very shallow water with emergent small-stem diameter reeds. Females lay eggs singly on submerged reeds. Sloane’s Froglets move from wetland to wetland within the breeding season and between seasons. We provided early results to community groups and state and local government and advocated for the protection of habitat. A stakeholder working group was established. Education activities commenced at local schools. In some cases councils and other landholders undertook actions to protect individual sites. Approaches to planning for new developments by state and local government have incorporated some measures to protect Sloane’s Froglet. Undertaking advocacy and engagement activities at the same time as investigating its ecology was challenging, frustrating and time consuming. Early results may be misinterpreted and application misguided, however, engaging the community whilst researching meant that new ecological knowledge about the species did not emerge alone, in peril of being unused, but into a community that is partially knowledgeable and so partially skilled to act for Sloane’s Froglet.

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