Frog hospital to close
By Alex Murdoch
THE nation's only frog hospital is closing its doors, severing the only lifeline for the country's maimed and diseased amphibians.
Curator and founder Deborah Pergolotti said after six and a half years of operation the Cairns-based hospital could simply no longer afford to cover the prohibitive expenses of treating injured and ailing frogs.
"We've run out (of money) entirely," she said today.
"Everything costs money and most of the frogs we treat cost more than $100 each to be well enough for release."
Ms Pergolotti said unlike the family cat or dog, people expected to have the frogs who live on their property treated and given back to them free of charge.
But she said like any business, the organisation, which is part of the Frog Decline Reversal Project Incorporated and exists solely on public donations, could not go on indefinitely giving out freebies.
Ms Pergolotti said frogs were definitely getting a financial community and governmental "bum steer" because they did not match society's definition of cute and cuddly.
She said what people did not realise was large tree frogs could live 25 years in captivity, although they were unlikely to survive more than 10 in the wild.
Smaller frog varieties also lead substantial lives, surviving between five and 10 years.
Ms Pergolotti, who operates out of her two-bedroom duplex, said she was especially sad to be shutting up shop when so many tropical frogs were being killed off by disease.
"We're dealing with four or five new disease problems that we've been trying to get recognised for years but no one is paying any attention," she said.
"We desperately need much more information about the diseases these frogs have."
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