The Pool Frog Recovery Project is the latest stage in ARC’s long-term work to reintroduce the northern pool frog to England. After its extinction in the wild in the 1990s, the pool frog has been reintroduced to England using closely related, northern clade frogs from Sweden. This international translocation has been carried out by ARC in partnership with a range of other organisations and individuals. 

The initial translocation from Sweden has successfully established a population of pool frogs at a confidential location in Norfolk.  Northern pool frogs have very specific habitat requirements, which means that frogs from the reintroduced population are unlikely to spread beyond their new home of their own accord. To establish the frogs at an additional location (with hospitable pool frog habitat) tadpoles have been head-started. This means that a small quantity of spawn has been collected (under licence from Natural England) so that tadpoles can be reared under captive conditions and protected from predators to boost the numbers surviving to become froglets. Head-starting has been used to bring pool frogs back to Thompson Common – the last home of English pool frogs. ARC’s experience with species introductions is that three or four years of successive translocations of animals are usually required for success. So far head-started pool frogs have been released at Thompson Common in 2015, 2016 and 2019.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is giving vital support to northern pool frog conservation. Funding in 2021 allows ARC to employ staff (John Baker, Ben King and Emily Jordan) to work specifically on this. After a break in the reintroduction work caused by COVID, ARC is now in a better position than ever to recover the northern pool frog. Work under the recovery project will:

  • Assess the status of the reintroduced populations
  • Complete the head-starting at Thompson Common
  • Train volunteers in monitoring pool frogs
  • Engage volunteers in head-starting tadpoles
  • Restore habitat for pool frogs
  • Make plans for the next steps in the reintroduction

We want to spread northern pool frogs to additional sites within the former presumed historic range (the East Anglian Brecks and Fens) to ensure a sustainable future for this rare form of the species in England. We would welcome contact with site owners and/or managers who would like to work with us to this end.  Please contact John Baker via [email protected] 

Project updates:

Dec 2020 - Pool frogs take a leap forward thanks to Government’s Green Recovery funding

Mar 2021 - World Frog Day 2021 – celebrating the UK’s rarest amphibian

Jul 2021 - Historic reintroduction reverses extinction of England’s rarest frog

Jul 2021 - Pool frog recovery team hops to it

Sept 2021 - Promising news for pool frog populations

This project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The 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.