Romer's Tree Frog
Well now this was a big surprise indeed. The sudden and unexpected discovery of this highly endangered endemic little frog living in Gaia Valley.
We knew that Romer’s frogs lived in South Lamma and that they were first discovered by science back in 1952 in a cave in south Lamma by the late Dr John D Romer himself. Then the population famously disappeared in 1953 due to the collapse of the cave. Only to be rediscovered on the island in 1984 once again.
These little fellows live no where else in the world except here in HK and inhabit 3 or 4 HK Islands. But there was no record of them living in North Lamma. Many years ago I had an exotic plan to go down to South Lamma with some Aquatic scientists to collect some breeding pairs of Romer’s and bring them up North to live near the fresh water streams and river up here. I had several conversations with some leading Biologists about this mission over the years and everyone thought there was no reason why this would not work.
However, this project never took off, because life got in the way. Fast forwards twenty years later.
And back to the big surprise that happened on April the 7th 2021. We had invited Dr Michael Lau, HK’s authority on Romer’s Frog and other amphibians, to come up to Gaia Valley to see if there was any sign of these tiny fellows living in and around the Gaia Valley stream. It was a lovely sunny afternoon as we were sitting on the front porch chatting away and playing music as we awaited dusk to fall. Suddenly Tito who was Volunteering for ABLE and clearing out the Mile-a-minute invasive pest weed Mikania down by the stream, saw a tiny frog leap out from the dead leaves there. He proceeded to catch the little fellow knowing that we were on the hunt for this elusive species. He carefully brought the tiny frog up in the palm of his hand and came to the middle of our gathering and casually opened his hand, and there stood a Romer Tree Frog nestled comfortably in Tito’s palm. Dr Michael almost fell off his chair in excitement and shock. He nodded his confirmation and stated his affirmation that this little chap is indeed the endangered species. In our excitement and enthusiasm we all stumbled down to the source of this discovery and then wisely just Dr Michael and myself gingerly walked down to the spot and very soon sited another little frog leaping around.
Low and behold Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom had already brought these amphibians to the heart of the valley. It only made perfect sense because the lush tree covered fresh water stream makes the ideal habitat for them to dwell comfortably.
Bobsy and Dr Micheal Lau
April 7th 2021
The day we discovered Romer’s Frogs living in Gaia Valley
So, it is official Liuixalus Romeri with its tiny body of 1.5cm to 2.5cm , Hong Kong’s smallest amphibian , is a happy lodger in Gaia Valley and North Lamma Island.
Romer’s frog is an endangered species protected under the law of Hong Kong, Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Cap. 170.
This is another good cause and solid reason to rezone at least this valley in North Lamma Island into a Conservation Area CA.