The Return of England’s Forgotten Frog

Until their presumed extinction in 1995, one could hear the loud calls of the Pool Frog across the wetland areas of East England. Their native status was actually debated for many years as similar ‘exotic’ species had been introduced from Europe. It was determined that English Pool Frogs belonged to a distinct, and very rare, northern group of Pool Frogs, also found in Sweden and Norway.

A group of researchers rallied together to analyze bone anatomy, bioacoustics, genetics, and ecology of the species, which showed pool frogs have regional ‘accents’ to their calls and further genetic studies revealed their true ancestry. Their research proved that this population had, in fact, always been present in the United Kingdom.

With this vital information, it was confirmed that action needed to be taken. The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and Natural England joined forces to attempt an ambitious de-extinction effort for England, using animals from the closest relative of the English Pool Frog, they have worked tirelessly to restore habitat and reintroduced Pool Frogs from Sweden to Norfolk in 2005.

Dr Inga Zeisset from the University of Brighton has been part of the long and patient effort to bring the frog back and we were very fortunate to have her in the studio to speak about this amazing effort of re-introduction.

Watch the documentary Katie Garrett here,

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