Being green comes natural to north Queensland frogs’ best friend Deborah Pergolotti. Conservationist and founding president of Frog Safe Inc, otherwise known as the Cairns Frog Hospital, Deborah is a passionate advocate for frogs.

Cairns Frog Hospital rescues and rehabilitates distressed, sick and injured frogs with the aim of returning them to the wild as soon as possible. Frogs are brought to the hospital from as far afield as Townsville to Cape York. Deborah’s advice is sought worldwide as she says, ‘I’m always advising someone from Australia or overseas on how to care for a sick frog. Even if the frog is terminal, seeing and assessing it assists our disease surveillance work and helps piece together why frog numbers are in decline.’

With frogs in north Queensland in peril there are a number of ways that everyone can help frogs.

Helping the frog population

1. Start at home by eliminating chemicals in the house and yard. Avoid herbicides, bug sprays and other gardening chemicals.
2. Control your dogs and cats. Train dogs to leave wildlife alone and keep cats indoors at night. Even more important, make sure your cat is wormed regularly and use a ‘super dose’ of worming medication two months in a row, once a year to get rid of the Spirometra tapeworm (this worm kills frogs).
3. Be aware of frogs around the house when you close all doors and windows: put a plug in the kettle and a cover on the toaster: build a protective cover for the BBQ and replace it as soon as you finish cooking.
4. Be alert for frogs which might be sick or injured and contact the Cairns Frog Hospital right away if you find sick or injured frogs (and cane toads too).
5. Join a local frog group or volunteer to conduct a survey in your area. You could make a recording of frog calls to contribute to surveys.
6. Support a wildlife organisation like the Cairns Frog Hospital. Thala gladly accepts donations from guests to help support this valuable work.

How are sick and injured frogs treated?

Many of the frogs that are presented to Cairns Frog Hospital have soil disease and are parasite ridden. For many conditions alternative medicines work well. But if a frog needs an invasive procedure, xray or medication, the frog hospital works with a local qualified vet to ensure correct treatment.

Frog numbers around Cairns in decline

Deborah says that when the hospital started in 1998 the frog population around Cairns was pretty healthy. ‘The numbers have dropped so much that now people are telling us they haven’t seen frogs in years. Downstream from any kind of agriculture or housing development or downwind of aerial spraying, frogs are susceptible to environmental contaminants.

Visit Cairns Frog Hospital website or consider making a donation to the hospital when you visit Thala.

With thanks to David White from @solar_whisper on Instagram for the gorgeous frog photos.