How this once extinct amphibian was reintroduced to East Anglia

Originally there was much debate over the status of this species in the UK, but it has since been declared native. Intensive research confirmed that a 'northern' type of pool frog that was found in Sweden and Norway was also formerly found in Britain. Unfortunately, pool frogs were presumed extinct in the wild by 1995.

In the mid-2000s a decision was taken to attempt reintroduction, in line with the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and the Habitats Directive. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation helped to write a detailed reintroduction strategy (download for free here), which was then implemented with help from a range of partners including Anglian Water, Natural England, Forestry Commission, universities and volunteers. The reintroduction strategy aims to reintroduce the northern clade pool frog to its likely former range by 2025.  In order to meet these targets a further two reintroductions would need to be carried out, one in Cambridgeshire and another in Lincolnshire. 

The First Reintroduction

Adults, juveniles, tadpoles and spawn were collected from Sweden from 2005 to 2008, after gaining permissions from the Swedish authorities. They were screened for health conditions, before being brought to the UK and released on an undisclosed Norfolk nature reserve.

Initial indications are encouraging in that the frogs are breeding and surviving well. As of 2017 we estimate there is a population of around 55 adults on site.

The Second Reintroduction – Thompson Common in Norfolk

In 2015, pool frogs were released at a second site in Norfolk, Thompson Common. This was the last known place in Britain were pool frogs occurred before going extinct. For this release, pool frogs were transferred from the first Norfolk reintroduction site. You can read more about the project in our leaflet 'Re-introducing the northern pool frog to NWT Thompson Common, Norfolk'

Recent developments

ARC has been fundraising for a dedicated head-starting facility, that will allow us to rear the young stages of pool frogs in captivity so they can be released to reinforce the newly establishing population at the second reintroduction site, when they are big enough to be less vulnerable to predators.  We are grateful to the following organisations, whose has support has enabled us to establish and equip a dedicated head-starting facility that we will be operating throughout summer 2019: Amphibian Ark; Anglian Water Flourishing Environment Fund, a charitable fund managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation; British Herpetological Society; Keith Ewart Charitable Trust; Natural England

If you would like to support this work please visit our Sponsor the pool frog page.

Partners and Funders

To find out more about the species and habitats at Thompson common on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust website.

To find out more about the biodiversity work carried out by or with support from Anglian Water visit their website.