Romer’s treefrog is one of three amphibian species listed under the Hong Kong Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, which prohibits the hunting, wilful disturbance, possession, sale or export of this species (2) (3) (4). A major population stronghold for Romer’s treefrog, Ngong Ping in Lantau, has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (1) (2). Many of the key sites for this species on Lamma Island fall within a Conservation Area (2).
A comprehensive captive breeding programme for this species began in 1992, when the population of Romer’s treefrog on Chek Lap Kok was imminently threatened by the construction of a new airport. Extensive collections were made from the island, and the rescued frogs were maintained in a breeding and management programme at The University of Hong Kong. Thirty individuals were also sent to Melbourne Zoo in Australia, to establish a second breeding population (1) (3) (4) (5) (7).
The aim of the captive breeding programme was to maintain a breeding population of Romer’s treefrog which could be released back into suitable sites the wild. In 1993 and 1994, adult frogs and tadpoles from captive populations were relocated to eight new sites. Seven out of the eight areas where this species was introduced still harbour significant populations of Romer’s treefrog (3), and an ongoing monitoring programme records the success of the introduced populations each year during the breeding season (5).
A large population of Romer’s treefrog in Sok Kwu Wan has also been the focus of concerted conservation action, with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation, the University of Hong Kong and the Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden working together to protect the species from slope stabilisation work which threatens to destroy its habitat (1) (3).