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Rare frogs bred in captivity for first time

Published: 5:47AM Wednesday February 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

Archey's frog babies have been bred in captivity for the first time.

Auckland Zoo bred seven of the endangered Archey's frogs, the smallest of New Zealand's frog species.

Archey's frogs have been bred twice before in captivity, but the babies did not survive.

Auckland Zoo's frogs hatched in early December, and are "continuing to thrive", the Zoo said in a statement.

The frogs do not have a tadpole stage like other frogs, instead hatching almost fully formed.

"It's a massive step forward to finally breed these enigmatic and extremely sensitive little frogs after almost eight years," said Auckland Zoo NZ Fauna curator Richard Gibson.

Kevin Zippel, programme director of Amphibian Ark, which focusses on the global survival of amphibians, said Auckland Zoo's success with the Archey's frogs was "exciting news" and an "important breakthrough".

"Conserving any species usually requires a whole range of actions and captive breeding is increasingly a requirement for many threatened amphibians," he said.

Archey's frogs have been around for over 50 million years and are only found on the Coromandel and in the Whareorino Forest in the wild. They are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Adult Archey's frogs will soon be on display at Auckland Zoo.