Leap Forward for the Lake Oku Clawed Frog

For the first time ever the Lake Oku clawed frog has been bred in captivity. This critically endangered amphibian is native only to a single lake in Africa and is ranked number 35 on the EDGE list (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) of ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

Keepers at London Zoo have been working tirelessly to ensure the precise conditions needed for the frog to breed are met, and four of 13 tadpoles have already metamorphosed into juvenile frogs.

Lake Oku Tadpole

Prior to breeding at ZSL the tadpoles had never been seen before, both in zoos and the wild, so they are getting crucial insights into the species.

Ben Tepley, head of the reptile and amphibian team at London Zoo said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the first Zoo in the world to have successfully bred the Lake Oku clawed frog.

“These Critically Endangered amphibians represent a unique branch of the evolutionary tree of life. Due to their restriction in the wild to just a single and relatively small site, they’re incredibly vulnerable to threats of invasive species or disease, which would be catastrophic if introduced to Lake Oku.

“We worked closely with field biologists to obtain very precise environmental data from Lake Oku which we replicated in our facilities here at ZSL London Zoo.

“We will now be able to share our insights gleaned from naturally breeding these frogs with conservation biologists working with the species in Cameroon and zoos around the world to help ensure a sustainable population can be maintained.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement for the survival of this species.”

The Lake Oku clawed frogs can be seen at the amphibian and reptile house at ZSL London Zoo.

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Laura Clarke

Laura Clarke

Laura is a Zoologist currently living in Portsmouth.
Laura Clarke

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