Frogs, the Canary in the Coal Mine......
Peter Johnson, affectionately known as "Frog Man" again had his Exhibitors Licence Application rejected. He has a licence to legally posess 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 barb 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 considrerd 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 to man the frog house. The licencing 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, being an approved method. And on it goes, an interresting 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 trialed a conducted tour format on a weekend years ago and received a confirmation phonecall 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 licencing committee. Nothing changed. The minister has the power to grant exemption to part or all the above. It is near impossible to fulfill 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..............
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 still hoping the frogarium will be open to the public. So watch this space for updates.