Big move for museum’s display frogs

Some long-time favourites from the Otago Museum have shifted house.

The museum has been home to a brown tree frog and a southern bell frog in a display inside the Nature galleries since about 1980.

Living environments officer Dr Anthony Stumbo said maintaining the ideal habitat for the frogs inside a traditional museum gallery had been ‘‘quite the challenge’’.

Their environment, which had to be warm, wet and humid, was the ‘‘polar opposite’’ of the ideal environment for museum collection items.

Dr Stumbo also said that the terrariums of amphibious residents could attract pests that could threaten the collection.

Late last week, the frogs were shipped to their new home, under the care of frog researcher and director of the Ecology Degree Programme at the University of Otago, Prof Phil Bishop.

He has been studying frog conservation for more than 30 years and was named Auckland Zoo’s inaugural Conservationist of the Year in 2008.

He is also a former co-leader of the Native Frog Recovery Group, has written numerous journal articles and a book entitled Frogs at Risk.

‘‘Phil is able to provide an exceptional environment for these guys, and while we’re sad to see them go, we know they will be well cared for in what is essentially a five-star frog hotel,’’ Dr Stumbo said.

The frog exhibit’s space would be handed over to the collections team, opening up room to display some more of the museum’s natural history collection.

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