AN endangered frog species, at high risk of extinction, has been found at Lake Cathie.
Assistant clinical director at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, Scott Castle, who also rescues wildlife for FAWNA, was eager to confirm his suspicion the frog he found was something special.
Mr Castle sent photos of the critter off for expert confirmation to be told it was in fact a Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Identification of the frog species was confirmed by ecologist Cameron de Jong, senior ecologist at Forestry Corporation NSW Chris Slade and frog ecologist Dr Frank Lemckert of Ecological Australia.
This is a significant find, because the Green and Golden Bell Frog, Litoria aurea, is classified as endangered in NSW under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
This means that the species is at very high risk of extinction in the near future.
"We have a lot of frogs around at the moment, after recent rain, and this frog stood out from the other common species," Mr Castle said.
"Behaviour often helps differentiate between species, so the fact that this frog was active around midday was the first indication, as they are known to bask in the sun.
"Another sign was that this frog had distinctive colouration, a bluish-green colour on the inside of the thighs, with a pea-green and metallic brown or gold splotched back. I took a few photos for identification and set it free among the bromeliads"
Mr Castle said the frog was only about 6cm long, so may have been a juvenile.
"Encounters like this illuminate the importance of monitoring your pets' behaviour, to alleviate their impact on wildlife. Especially for those who allow their cats to roam free around the yard and neighbouring bush".
Forestry Corporation NSW ecologist Chris Slade said along with pet management, healthy waterways and water bodies are an important aspect to keep frog fauna safe.
"The plague minnow (Gambusia holbrooki), is a known tadpole predator of the Green and Golden Bell Frog and anyone seeing this small fish species should report it," Mr Slade said.
"I was very excited to see the photos sent through and is great that ecologists network within the region to share exciting finds like this. Hopefully this is one of many individuals in the area."