While the agile frog is wide-spread throughout Europe, Jersey is the only place in the British Isles where this long-legged species can be found. Its population in Jersey has been declining in both range and numbers since the early 1900s. By the 1970s it could be found at only seven sites, and by the mid 1980s this had fallen to only two sites. In 1987, one of the remaining two breeding populations was lost as a result of a catastrophic spill of agricultural pesticide into a pond. The species is now believed to be confined to a single fragile population in the south-west of the island.
In an attempt to prevent the extinction of the agile frog in Jersey, the Agile Frog Group, a collaboration of local environmental and conservation organisations and individuals, has launched a comprehensive Action Plan, which lays out the various threats faced by the species and details what action is needed to save it.
Water pollution and habitat loss from farming and housing have destroyed all but one of the frog’s natural breeding sites. Ducks and non-native fish eat frogspawn and cats often eat adult frogs. Durrell manages a head-starting programme for the species, which means wild clumps of spawn are reared in safety at Durrell's headquarters. Since 2000 reintroductions of tadpoles and froglets have taken place into a second location in the Island, so as to create the best possible chances for survival. Vital habitat protection is also carried out, in conjunction with research into the frog’s ecology.
In Jersey, Bedell Group and HSBC Private Bank are sponsoring FrAgile, the agile frog campaign. The programme, which was initiated by Durrell together with the States of Jersey Environment Department and the Jersey Amphibian and Reptile Group (JARG), includes captive breeding and release; head starting and reintroduction; habitat management and public awareness campaigns. Motormall has donated a specially designed van, which will be used to spread the word in schools throughout Jersey.