After quite a long “incubation period” and a lot of prep and planning, 400 green tree frogs have been released in the Famenne area!
Approximately 2.000 healthy individuals, reared on the Domain, have been reintroduced this year as part of a species preservation programme initiated by Natagora. And we have more good news: we spotted quite a few of the frogs that were released on the very same spot last year! This means that the project is a success and that the locations selected for their reintroduction are favourable to their survival. Green tree frogs reach sexual maturity when they're about 2 years old. So, if all goes well, next year, the frogs released into the wild in 2022 should be ready to reproduce in
the wild! And this is excellent news news for this teeny, tiny frog that had completely disappeared from Wallonia...
A teeny, tiny frog
The green tree frog is a tiny frog that measures about 3 to 6 cm and has a smooth apple-green skin. Just like the chameleon, they are capable of changing colour to blend into their environment. When stressed, it can transition from almost black to beige. This makes this tiny creature that loves to take naps in the sun even more special and endearing!
For several months now, the Domain of the Caves of Han has been taking part in the Walloon green tree frog reintroduction programme. This project, initiated by Natagora, aims to reintroduce the species in 4 different locations, of which one in the Gaume area and 3 in the Famenne area. The Domain and a number of other contributors were selected to rear several of the egg clutches harvested mid-April in the provinces of Luxemburg and Antwerp. Last year's first release led to a conclusive result and the second release – thanks to the experience aquired and the admirable work carried out by Han's animal carers - allowed to achieve an exceptional success rate for our sample.
An ambitious project
But this projects aims to be so much more than the reintroduction of a disappeared species. Natagora and the different participants in this project hope that the return of this amphibian will, on a larger scale, reinforce the other aquatic and terrestrial habitat protection projects involving habitats that the green tree frog is particularly fond of. This could only be a win-win for a multitude of plants and animals that are not quite as spectacular but just as essential to our biodiversity.
This truly is a source of pride for the Domain of the Caves of Han, as once again, we can witness our teams efforts contributing to the preservation of biodiversity as well as contributing to a key event for Walloon biodiversity, by releasing back into the wild a frog species that had disappeared from the area for the past 3 decades!