Dunedin frog man wins zoo award

University of Otago zoology senior lecturer Phil Bishop examines a frog in his laboratory. Photo...
University of Otago zoology senior lecturer Phil Bishop examines a frog in his laboratory. Photo by Craig Baxter.
University of Otago frog researcher Dr Phil Bishop has been named Auckland Zoo's inaugural Conservationist of the Year.

The former co-leader of the Native Frog Recovery Group won the award for his extensive work in frog research, and communicating the conservation message about frogs to the wider community.

Mad about frogs and toads since the age of 4, Dr Bishop said New Zealand's four native frogs were the most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered amphibians in the world and should be national figures like the kiwi and tuatara.

"We have the most significant frogs in the world, and several species are in danger of becoming extinct in our lifetime. It's morally irresponsible for us to sit back and document their declines without working to prevent their extinction," he said.

Dr Bishop received $1000 towards a frog conservation project.

The award was particularly special as it was the global Year of the Frog.

"I've pulled out all stops to ensure as many people as possible find out about these frogs and how we can help them."

The Young Conservationist of the Year award went to Isabella Wilson, of Auckland, for her campaign against the use of palm oil.

Auckland Zoo conservation officer Peter Fraser said Dr Bishop and Isabella were shining examples of how people with passion and drive could really make a difference.


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