ARC's Pool Frog Recovery Project Manager, John Baker gives an update on what the team have been up to over the last few months.

ARC’s Pool Frog Recovery work has continued apace in recent months, with activity funded by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.  The team has trained a small group of enthusiastic volunteers to carry out surveys for pool frogs during the key breeding period (late May to early June). 

We have also undertaken head-starting.  This means taking spawn from one of the wild populations and rearing the tadpoles under protected conditions in captivity.  This boosts the numbers that survive the hazardous tadpole stage, which under natural conditions experiences high rates of predation.  Spawn was collected, under licence, at the end of May.  Since then tadpoles have been cared for by Project Officer, Ben King and Project Assistant, Emily Jordan, with the help of a handful of trained volunteers at our specially designed facility in Norfolk.

Between July 14 and 22 2021 more than 500 large tadpoles have been released to complete the final year of reintroducing pool frogs to Thompson Common with some returning to the donor site, to compensate for the spawn taken from there.  The tadpole release at Thompson Common was the focus of a joint media event between ARC and Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Green Recovery Challenge Funding has also allowed us to engage a wildlife videographer, Katie Garrett, to film pool frogs, to bring them to a wider audience and to produce a survey training video.  Katie filmed frogs in early July and will be returning for a final day of filming in early August. Watch out for the finished videos later this summer.

We have received a lot of generous offers of help for setting up the head-starting room this year. This included:

Matthew Rowthorn, Custom Aquaria repairing a custom glass aquarium for free.

Wriggles - Dunstable creating and delivering custom made aquarium stands for trade price.

John Courtney Smith, Arcadia Reptile, and Monkfield Nutrition for providing UV lighting (and advice on this) at the BIAZA discount (40% off) and a free food sample.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to these suppliers and to our partners and volunteers for all their hard work.

The Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.