Release captive-bred amphibians

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Key messages

  • One review found that 41% of release programmes of captive-bred or head-started amphibians showed evidence of breeding in the wild for multiple generations, 29% showed some evidence of breeding and 12% evidence of survival following release.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A review in 2008 of the effectiveness of 39 release programmes of captive-bred or head-started amphibians (Griffiths & Pavajeau 2008) found that 14 of 17 programmes that could be assessed were considered successful. Seven species (2 toad; 3 frog; 2 newt) showed evidence of breeding in the wild for multiple generations (high success), five species (3 toad; 2 frog) showed some evidence of breeding (partial success) and two species (1 toad; 1 frog) only showed evidence of survival following release (low success). Three programmes were considered unsuccessful and the outcome was not known for the other 19. Species from 16 countries were involved in these release programmes, with a bias towards temperate countries. Half of the species were classified in the top four highest IUCN threat categories (i.e. vulnerable to extinct in the wild).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Smith, R.K., Meredith, H. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Amphibian Conservation. Pages 9-64 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Amphibian Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Amphibian Conservation
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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