The Advocate 29TH March 2010
‘FROGARIUM’ is a word that cannot be found in the dictionary... yet.
Peter Johnson hopes it will soon become a very familiar term for Coffs Coast residents
Peter’s Frogarium Coffs Harbour boast's 23 species of frogs – including three that are highly endangered – and it will open to the public at Boambee’s Garden Mania Nursery from 10am to 4pm on Easter Monday, April 5.
Visitors to the Frogarium will be able to see the Giant Barred frog and the Coffs Coast’s own endangered frog, the Green and Golden Bell frog that so famously disrupted construction of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games village after its discovery in a quarry on the site.
Peter also has two other bell frogs from Western Australia and many other less-threatened species.
And his froggie claim to fame? Peter is the only person who has ever managed to breed the Giant Barred frog in captivity.
The Giant Barred frog sprays its eggs on the roofs of caves, where they cannot touch water until the tadpole forms.
The bell frogs are aquatic frogs which also sunbake like a lizard and Mr Johnson, who has been breeding frogs since 1985, was one of the first to notice and report the disappearance of the now-famous Green and Golden bell frogs in the early 1980s.
He has since successfully bred the frogs at Coffs Harbour and reintroduced their offspring to Pambula on the NSW South Coast, where they had been extinct for 25 years.
The Frogarium is housed in an attractive conservatory-style structure designed and built by Garden Mania joint owner Peter Young.
Garden Mania co-owner Prue Young said the frog project, with one of Australia’s most highly regarded frog breeders, was a world first.
There will be a ‘reasonable’ charge for Frogarium entry and visitors will have to walk through a foot-bath to keep any dangerous chytrid fungus out of the facility.
Garden Mania’s iconic conservatory style building was designed by Vil Brickman [ ] and constructed by Peter Young and currently houses an amazing collection of rare and endangered species of frogs.
We are hoping in the near future that the frogarium will be open to the public. So watch this space for updates.
Peter Johnson, affectionately known as "Frog Man" again had his Exhibitors Licence Application rejected. He has a licence to legally possess and breed endangered frogs but they are not to be seen by anybody or any group, no exceptions.
Previous Exhibition Licence Application rejections sited many reasons, including the requirement for an additional fence to be erected around the Frogarium. Apparently a six foot chain mesh fence with three strands of barbed wire is insufficient. We constructed another inner fence. Its a non issue with the current licence.
Then the stumbling block became the wall lining of the Frogarium. It was considered to be insufficient to contain and separate the frogs from outside. We installed another layer of fine welded wire. Again a non issue with the current licence.
Then it was deemed inappropriate to have one particular species of frog in the same building as another if they are to be exhibited, so we put a 40 ft shipping container nearby, converted it and moved the “troublemaker” frogs. The "troublemakers" are not an issue with the current licence.
The latest rejection is the requirement for permanent trained staff for the frog house. The licensing authority feel two should be sufficient! Nothing required with the current licence.
Oh, did I mention the requirement to count, and keep accurate records of eggs laid, tadpoles hatched including fatalities and list how the fatalities are disposed of? ,What is the approved method? And on it goes, an interesting procession of reasons to prevent "Frog Man". from opening.
An application costs hundreds of dollars without much indication of requirements to enable this unique collection to be granted a licence to exhibit. His current licence poses no problems with the frog houses setup, enabling "Frog Man" to breed endangered frogs for the National Parks and Wildlife re-release programs. At the moment "Frog Man" is breeding for the translocation and re-introduction of the Stuttering Frog, Mixophyes balbus to Nowra NSW. Not bad for a guy considered unsuitably qualified to hold a licence to exhibit frogs! Approval of a viewing licence requires his "training" in the ways of frogs at an institution.
The penalty for exhibiting without the licence is 20 points @ $110 and/ or six months jail. [ $2,200 and/or SIX MONTHS JAIL ] We trialled a conducted tour format on a weekend years ago and received a confirmation phone-call regarding penalties that Sunday night.
Andrew Fraser arranged for the Minister in charge of licensing to inspect the Frogarium. The Minister thought it a terrific educational project and should proceed but then handed it back to the same licensing committee. Nothing changed. The minister has the power to grant exemption to part or all the above. It is near impossible to fulfil all the requirements on the application (accurately counting frogs eggs for example) without falsifying and that attracts another hefty penalty.
There isn’t anything like the Frogarium anywhere, and we cant let you see it.........................
and here are some of the REASONS <froggyleaks
we can't let you see inside <froggyleaks
and thats just the start....
stay tuned to <froggyleaks
Sections of the 'EXHIBITED ANIMALS PROTECTION ACT 1986 No 123' preventing us from showing you inside the Frogarium and the penalties for breaches.