29 Dec 2016

Tiny endangered frogs get their own sanctuary

9:05 pm on 29 December 2016

One of New Zealand's rarest - and smallest - frogs will have the chance to recover its numbers, now that its natural habitat has been declared a conservation sanctuary.

The Hochstetter frog is the size of your thumb

The Hochstetter frog is the size of your thumb Photo: Supplied

The 400-hectare area of land near Te Puke, which includes a former quarry, is the home to about 200 of the tiny Hochstetter frogs.

Carole Long, a Forest and Bird branch member, was there when the first frog was found at the site 24 years ago.

Ms Long said it was a critically endangered species and the conservation status gave it a chance to recover.

"They're very ancient, and they split off from other frog species around the time of the dinosaurs. They don't croak, they have no ears and they give birth to tiny frogs, instead of tadpoles, and they carry them around on their backs."

Ms Long said the population was genetically unique to the area, and Forest and Bird had fought a long struggle to have the area declared a sanctuary.