Australia’s only frog hospital struggles to find new location

By on March 4, 2017


The Cairns Frog Hospital has been operating for 18 years in Australia and is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. (Photo by Josh007007G - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,)
The Cairns Frog Hospital has been operating for 18 years in Australia and is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. (Photo by Josh007007G – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,)

SYDNEY—The Cairns Frog Hospital has been operating for 18 years in Australia and is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world.

After moving five times, the practice has occupied its current location for eight years, but with the owner of the building wanting to sell the property, the hospital will be forced to move again.

Finding an appropriate rental property for any business can be challenging at the best of times, but for a frog hospital, it is even more difficult than you might imagine.

“Real estate agents up here (North Queensland) are automatically spraying houses with pesticides, even if they don’t need it,” founder and President of the Cairns Frog Hospital Deborah Pergalotti told Xinhua.

“Once it has been sprayed, it is useless for our purposes.”

In fact, the problem has not just made things challenging for frog hospitals, frogs themselves are globally in decline and Pergalotti believes it is down to the over use of these sprays.

“Frogs are very sensitive to chemicals and Australia is a very heavy chemical user,” she said.

“It’s not just farmers who use them, a lot of domestic households use these chemicals to and unfortunately it only takes a small amount.”

Also adding to the stress of relocation is the inflated rental prices in the area.

“Rents are escalating up here something chronic, in a reasonable neighborhood we are looking at around 450 Australian dollars (USD 340) per week and that’s at the bottom of the market,” she said.

There has also been pressure on the hospital from the local council, who wants the organization to move onto an acreage property, which could cost anywhere from 800 to 2,000 Australian dollars.

“We’ve had to look in an area that starts two hours south of Cairns, right up to the region that is two hours north of Cairns, to find something that is not sprayed with pesticide and is a reasonable rental,” she said.

Despite numerous challenges, the hospital is determined to continue its work and help the amphibious population survive.

“Even other frog groups thought we were nuts when we started to rescue and rehabilitate frogs, they thought that was a silly idea,” she said.

“But over time we’ve learned a great deal about the animal, so it’s quite a valuable and important process to do and why should a frog that has a broken leg be left to die, when it could be fixable?”