Save NZ frogs – stop the mining!

Two of the highest priority EDGE amphibian species are under imminent threat of extinction from mining, as the New Zealand Government proposes to remove protection from conservation land.

Archey’s frog (Leiopelma archeyi) and Hochstetter’s frog (L. hochstetteri) are prehistoric amphibians which have survived mass extinctions and represent half of New Zealand’s native amphibian fauna, but are currently struggling to cope with increasing human pressure. Years of work have gone into preventing the extinction of these remarkable frogs, but efforts may have been in vain should a recent proposal from the New Zealand Government be implemented.

In the 1990s areas of New Zealand that were considered to be of “high conservation value” (including many National Parks) were placed on Schedule 4 which recognised their conservation significance and proclaimed them as a “no go” area for all other activities.

The New Zealand government is now asking for public submissions about their proposal to remove some of this high conservation value land from Schedule 4 to open it up for mining (coal, gold iron ore and rare minerals).  The areas to be mined include several long-term frog monitoring sites where the frog populations have been continually monitored for over 40 years – this represents the best data on frog populations anywhere in the world.

In addition the proposed mining area includes the ‘type’ locality of Archey’s frog (Tokatea on the Coromandel Peninsula) and Hochstetter’s frogs (Coromandel Peninsula). Archey’s frogs only occur in two areas of New Zealand and the Coromandel is considered the ‘stronghold’ population.

Save our frogs – stop the mining” really is the biggest issue in New Zealand conservation. Archey’s frogs are Critically Endangered, having lost 88% of their population since 1996, while Hochstetter’s frog is found in just 10 highly fragmented locations. These frogs are just hanging in there and without our help they will disappear. If we destroy their habitat then we will quickly lose a part of one of the most important pieces of New Zealand history as well as a large piece of the amphibian evolutionary tree.

Archey’s frog is the number one amphibian conservation priority in the world (out of more than 6,500 species!) according to the EDGE criteria. The New Zealand frogs are the most ancient frogs in the world and if they go extinct we will lose over 200 million of years of evolutionary history.

These frogs were around before the Atlantic Ocean existed, and before the planet’s highest mountain range – the Himalayas – had even started to form. We have a moral obligation to protect these original inhabitants of New Zealand – they walked the feet of the dinosaurs, but now they need our help to avoid extinction.

For more information on how the frogs will be affected (including maps of distribution and proposed areas to be mined) visit

To see some presentations about the mining issue from a recent Panel Discussion click here

For more information about the mining in Coromandel click here

Finally, please make a submission to the New Zealand government supporting the continued protection of these critical habitats by clicking here. Submissions can be made until 5pm (New Zealand time) on Wednesday the 26th May 2010.


Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Save NZ frogs – stop the mining!'.

  1. sarah jane said,

    on May 7th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    i love frogs,they r bang in trouble everywhere,its heart breaking

  2. Kerry K said,

    on May 14th, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Dr. Phil Bishop of New Zealand’s University of Otago will present a very special one-hour webinar entitled “Saving New Zealand’s Threatened Frogs”. This webinar is FREE and open to anybody. Dr. Bishop will introduce the audience to the amazing life histories of New Zealand’s four frog species, and detail the threats they currently face. The slideshow presentation features many of Dr. Bishop’s photos of New Zealand’s unique amphibian fauna and there will be a question and answer session following the presentation.

    Space is limited:
    Reserve your Webinar seat now.

    6pm May 19th US PST 
    9pm May 19th US EST
    1pm May 20th Auckland Time
    11am May 20th Sydney Time

  3. Adam said,

    on May 25th, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Get a grip.
    Do you really think exploration and underground mining is going to wipe out the Archey’s Frog? Last time I checked they did not live deep underground.
    The The Zoological Society of London should worry about their own back yard before they try and tell kiwis how to live.

  4. Sally Wren said,

    on May 25th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Dear Adam,

    I am sorry that you were disappointed by this blog. ZSL’s mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats; the EDGE of Existence conservation project supports in-country conservationists and through our network we were asked by colleagues in New Zealand for support to help raise awareness of the threat facing key habitats occupied by Archey’s frog and other native species. Given the status of Archey’s frog as top of our EDGE amphibian conservation priority list ( we felt it was important to help in any way we could.

    We endeavour to help existing in-country conservation efforts, and posted this blog to allow all sides of the argument to be heard.

    The NZ organisation Forest & Bird raise some interesting points about the method of mining (expecting open cast rather than underground mining) which you can read here:


  5. James sparkman said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 3:31 am

    I understand if you want to mine but dont you think you should think about the mining’s unforseen consequences becasue tht last times that happend some of the species we may not have seen today would recoverd but if we don’t start thinking about our actions consequences first we man not be so lucky next time you can just assume they will survive they need proof further more i would think carefully before acting rationally besides these paticular frogs may contain the key the kermit the frog’s own anestors in fact i really wish you would reconsider before mining it is the price of greed because the new zeland frogs may produce diseases that you may face if you mine you might be sorry because the water will seep down and allow the frogs to breed in there under your feet

    Remember they make a vital ingredient in witchcraft potions if they are all gone than the witches that seek to help your needs may be out of buisness besides it may take years before jurassic park tech can be invented to undo the damage you are doing 19 years by then there may be more minerals for you to mine but until then try to find another mine beisdes i have learned to take only what i need but not without giving something back in know you want the mine but that will mean the exticntion of these prehistoric frogs and do want to be remembered as the miners who cause the extintion of the frogs or saved them and began a new era to let them breed for the next 20 years in fact you could instead find new meteals that could last longer than others insted of digging through the earth willy nilly,

  6. James sparkman said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 3:34 am

    This mining may not be somthing i tolerate but i respect your wishes all the same

  7. James sparkman said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Let me predict the future for the frogs you may love mining but will the frogs and besides think of the unstablity in the frogs that may crush you but besides i need you for mining but i do not wish for it so much that you would be willing to let parts of unstable earth kill you i will be you would feel the same way besides the extinction all the trouble your making for yourself it can all go way. please think about this i beg you

  8. James sparkman said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Here is another idea you can think of how removing the entire breeding ground carefully recycles in another area mine than put them back but the consequence would be

    For conservations the frogs are counting on you you cant quit now
    you ve just got to rescue them what ever you do dont give up but be careful please.

  9. James sparkman said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Here’s another idea let people try to clone them throught genetic enginerring but remember what ever dissicon you make the consequences alone for you are to deal with forever.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.