A Rotorua veterinarian is proud to be an ambassador for a national campaign aiming to raise awareness and help endangered frogs in New Zealand.

New Zealand's frog, Freddo, will vanish from the front of chocolate packs and be replaced with images of his real-life endangered frog friends.

This campaign is to educate Kiwis about these native, endangered frogs.

Cadbury's three-year commitment to Conservation Volunteers New Zealand will support vital efforts to protect fragile habitats and restore populations of these threatened frog species.

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Vetora veterinarian Dr Stacey Tremain says Archey's Frog is referred to as a 'living fossil' by scientists, as it has remained unchanged in the last 200 million years.

"This rare species is the only land-dwelling frog in New Zealand and holds international significance as the world's number one most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) amphibian species.

"Similarly, Hochstetter's Frog is a very slow-breeding species (only breeding once every two years) and is particularly vulnerable to threats.

"These species provide a critical link to our prehistoric past. Populations of Hochstetter's Frogs have been badly affected by predators like rats, ferrets and stoats in their natural habitat, including Auckland's Waitakere Ranges."

Stacey says the opportunity to be an ambassador for this campaign came along at exactly the right time for him.

"Not many people know this but I studied Herpetology, which is the study of reptiles and amphibians, for two to three years when I was in England so I actually feel slightly qualified to do this."

He says it is a well set-up and organised campaign, and he thinks Conservation Volunteers New Zealand are already doing amazing job, they just need more help.

"Our flora and fauna is a source of pride for New Zealand, but now we are getting to the point, especially with Archey's Frog, where we either put work in and save these little guys or we are going to lose them.

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"We have this beautiful biodiversity and we are losing it."

Using their smartphones, Freddo fans can learn more about endangered native
species of frogs and ways to help by scanning these specially marked packs, which will take them to an interactive AR experience.

Stacey says there may be people who want to make a difference but don't know where to go or what they can do.

"If you want to do one thing, just go to the website and scan a Freddo bag across. We are all busy and have things to do, but it's cool and fun, and you will make a difference."

He says the website has information on the species, and can sign up for volunteer groups and donate.

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand corporate partnerships manager Siobhan O'Grady
says Cadbury's support will help manage ongoing programmes for keeping predators in check.

"We are installing a series of trap lines, as well as installing bait stations and traps that target rats and mustelids.

"These and other initiatives will go a long way to help ensure that New Zealand frog populations can thrive for many years to come."

"Nine of
Freddo's friends on both sides of the Tasman are under threat of extinction, but we don't
often hear about them," Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo marketing manager Katrina Watson says.

"To help raise awareness of these species and what we can do to help, Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo packs across New Zealand and Australia will feature the nationally threatened amphibians in our backyard, including our own Archey's Frog and Hochstetter's Frog."

- Consumers are encouraged to visit freddofriends.com to find out more and take part.