Rare native animals are croaking it at an alarming rate at a a Smart State’ school academy work site.
Rare native animals are croaking it at an alarming rate at a a Smart State’ school academy work site.

Mass frog deaths at school construction site

Twenty rare native frogs have been found dead at a westside creek school construction site in the past six weeks alone, raising concerns about their survival.

Zoologist Iris Hing, who has been spearheading a campaign against building work at the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology in Toowong, said before the construction started she had seen only one dead Tusked Frog in the area in 14 years.

The amphibian is listed as threatened under the state's Nature Conservation Act.

 

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"The last four dead frogs were found in one day (December 7),'' Ms Hing said.

"All 20 dead frogs were found in a 30m section of Toowong Creek.

"But these are only the ones that were found - how many weren't?''

Adults are about 2-3cm long and hide under leaf litter, so are hard to detect. A single leaf can hide one frog.

"This is what the Labor State Government and QASMT don't want the public to see... mass dead native threatened frogs dying due to inappropriate development,'' Ms Hing said.

Community group Save Toowong Creek, led by two wildlife veterinarians, an ecologist, Ms Hing and a specialist arborist warned Education Minister a year ago about the impact the QASMT expansion would have on native species, which also include powerful owls, but said they had been brushed off.

The Department has insisted its works have been carried out under the law and measures to limit impacts such as sediment barriers and controls on lighting were being carried out.

In July, the Government asked Council to investigate two cases where mud washed off the works site into the creek.

It also agreed to move one building 11m to save a protected grey ironbark tree, thought to be at least 300 years old, but 58 other large trees will be felled.

But opponents said the sediment barriers had failed during storms earlier this year and trucks, heavy equipment and containers had compressed the root zone of large native trees, which they said could result in their slow death over the next five years.

Several major buildings are going up at the site to accommodate an influx of students, from next year, as the school transitions to a full Year 7-12 campus.

Until now, the elite selective state academy has been for Years 10-12 only.

Ms Hing said an ecological report commissioned by the State Government was flawed and claimed it failed to use proper methodology for surveying native wildlife and failed to mention anthropogenic (human-made) noise impacts.

"Amphibians are known to be especially sensitive to noise and vibrations,'' Ms Hing said.

"It causes them substantial stress, which elevates their corticosteroid levels, which in turn causes their immune system to collapse, making them susceptible to disease and ultimately death.

"Save Toowong Creek, together with over 5000 signatories, have demanded Minister Grace Grace and Environment Minister Leanne Enoch move this threatening development away from the creek, consistent with its obligations under the Nature Conservation Act.''

Ms Hing said there were others locations on the 9.7ha QASMT campus away from the creek where the new buildings could have been constructed.


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