Michael J. Tyler
with the assistance of the Editorial Advisory Committee
Wildlife Australia, April 1997
ISBN 0 642 21400 X
Recovery Outline No. 15: Orange-bellied Frog
2. Scientific Name
3. English Name
4. Intraspecific taxa:
5. Species survival status
Vulnerable. The geographic area within which G. vitellina is found is estimated at 6.3 km². The entire area lies within State forest on publicly owned land. Nevertheless it has been demonstrated that suitable habitat "forms only a small proportion of the range" (Wardell-Johnson and Roberts 1991).
6. Former distribution
Unknown. Unlikely to have changed since European settlement.
7. Current distribution
Confined to an area of 6.3 km² east of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge in the extreme south west of WA. Known from six possibly discrete populations.
Reported to be in six unconnected and undisturbed areas of riparian vegetation at an elevation of 120m in broad, u-shaped valleys where there is marked topographic relief.
9. Reasons for decline
Unknown. The work of Wardell-Johnson and Roberts (1991) shows an extremely localised distribution. Damage to breeding sites by pigs is a potential cause of decline.
10. Conservation reserves on which species occurs
None. Spearwood Creek has been recommended for gazettal as a Nature Reserve (Majors et al. 1991).
11. Other public lands on which species occurs
WA: Wholly distributed within State Forest.
12. Other lands on which species occurs
13. Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
No. Although the biological data are adequate, the issue of predation and damage as a factor limiting the species is unknown. Elsewhere in Australia pigs have been shown to be major predators of burrowing frogs.
14. Recovery Plan objectives
14.1. To downlist to conservation dependant within ten years by protecting existing populations and, if necessary, establishing additional populations.
15. Management actions completed or under way
15.1. A draft recovery plan produced by the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management (Majors et al. 1991) with Endangered Species Program support, has been updated and published (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995). Implementation by a recovery team has proceeded since 1992 as follows:
15.2. Survey of riparian habitat. This has been completed.
15.3. Land tenure and management. All major land disturbances have been deferred in the State Forest where the species occurs pending the conclusion of research provided for in the recovery plan. Consideration will be given to declaring a special reserve for the frog during the coming years.
15.4. Fire research and management. Fire in the State Forest area where the species occurs has been excluded. Because of adjacent recreation areas along the Blackwood river, parts of the swamp catchments (but not the habitat of the frogs) will be subject to cool spring burns. Fire research is underway.
15.5. Habitat protection. All habitat is within public land. Monitoring for feral pig disturbance is underway and pig control will be instituted if necessary.
15.6. Community participation. Information on the species will be provided to the public with the primary aim of minimising unplanned fire in its habitat.
15.7. Population monitoring. Sites where the species occurs are monitored regularly.
15.8. Genetic studies. All populations have been sampled for allozyme electrophoresis.
15.9. Translocations. Melbourne Zoo is developing captive breeding protocols using the more widespread G. rosea as an analogue species.
16. Management actions required
16.1. Continuation of research and management actions prescribed in recovery plan.
16.2. Resolution of land tenure and management on completion of research.
16.3. Translocations to establish additional populations.
17. Organisations responsible for conservation of species
WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.
18. Other organisations involved
University of Western Australia, Shire of Augusta - Margaret River, local landowners, Land Conservation District Committee representative, Melbourne Zoo.
19. Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
A detailed budget prepared for the recovery plan anticipates expenditure over ten years. The recovery plan is being implemented with the aid of Endangered Species Program funding.
Majors, C., Wardell-Johnson, G. and Roberts, J.D. 1991. Draft recovery plan for the orange-bellied
(Geocrinia vitellina) and white-bellied (Geocrinia alba) frogs. Unpublished report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra, and Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.
Wardell-Johnson, G. and Roberts, J.D. 1991. The survival status of the Geocrinia rosea (Anura: Myobatrachidae) complex in riparian corridors: biogeographical implications. pp 167-175 in Nature Conservation 2: the role of corridors. Eds D.A. Saunders and R.J. Hobbs, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, New South Wales.
Wardell-Johnson, G., Roberts, J.D., Driscoll, D. and Williams, K. 1995. Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan. 2nd edition. Western Australia Wildlife Management Program No. 19. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como.
Herpetological authorities consulted:
A. Burbidge, D. Driscoll, H. Ehmann, J.D. Roberts, G. Wardell-Johnson.