London Zoo is the first to breed this magical endangered frog

A critically-endangered amphibian has been bred for the first time in the world at London Zoo.

The Lake Oku clawed frog is native to only Lake Oku in Cameroon and, due to their unique history of evolution (including the loss of their tongues), the aquatic frogs are tottering on the brink of extinction.

A team of amphibian keepers at the zoo are the first to ever successfully breed the frog, sparking fresh hope of ensuring the survival of the species.

Zookeepers have been intent on maintaining perfect conditions for the amphibians to thrive and four of the zoo’s 13 tadpoles have already metamorphosed into young, colourful frogs.

“We are absolutely delighted to be the first zoo in the world to have successfully bred the Lake Oku clawed frog,” said Ben Tapley, head of the reptile and amphibian team at London Zoo.

“These critically endangered amphibians represent a unique branch of the evolutionary tree of life. Due to their restriction in the wild to just a single and relatively small site, they’re incredibly vulnerable to threats of invasive species or disease, which would be catastrophic if introduced to Lake Oku.

“We worked closely with field biologists to obtain very precise environmental data from Lake Oku which we replicated in our facilities here at ZSL London Zoo.

“We will now be able to share our insights gleaned from naturally breeding these frogs with conservation biologists working with the species in Cameroon and zoos around the world to help ensure a sustainable population can be maintained.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement for the survival of this species.”