The proposed mining activity in the Coromandel would deal a devastating blow to the critically endangered population of Archey’s frogs, says Dr Phil Bishop of the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago.
“Archey’s frogs are already the most globally endangered amphibian in the world. These frogs are special not just because they are critically endangered, but they are also a living fossil. Archey’s frogs are almost indistinguishable from the fossilised remains of frogs that walked amongst the dinosaurs 150 million years ago. In terms of conservation, the world simply cannot afford to lose such a valuable creature.”
Dr Bishop adds that the suggested area under consideration in the Coromandel includes several long-term frog monitoring sites. He says that these sites represent the best data on frog populations anywhere in the world.
“To lose such a precious resource would be devastating to conservation of frogs; not only would we be heading for the extinction of Archey’s frogs but there could also be a severe decline in the rare Hochstetter’s frog population. I find it ironic that in the Year of International Biodiversity that such a shattering blow to global amphibian conservation could be considered,” says Dr Bishop.
“New Zealand has a responsibility to do everything possible to guarantee the survival of these incredible amphibians. We should be ensuring their survival, and not their extinction,” concludes Dr Bishop.