Manchester Museum at Maggie's. Week 1: Frogs and Reptiles / by Lucy Burscough

For the past three weeks on a Thursday afternoons the Manchester Museum has come to Maggie's Manchester as part of the Facing Out programme of events. We have been wowed to be given the opportunity to handle some of the objects from the museum's wide ranging collection and fascinated to hear stories from the expert curators who came along to share their passion for their subjects withcentre visitors. 

The first session was led by Andrew Gray who is the curator of Herpetology at the museum and an expert on reptiles and frogs. As the museum is part of Manchester University, Andrew not only cares for the reptiles and frogs that visitors can see and learn about in the museum's vivarium, he also conducts research and teaches.

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Andrew is particularly interested in conservation, supporting some of the world's most critically endangered species of frogs which are native to Costa Rica, where he leads expeditions to gather live eggs for breeding and the environment data needed to keep them in tip top condition. On one such trip Andrew rediscovered a species that was previously thought to be extinct! Through captive breeding programmes Andrew and his team at the museum and university support species that are on the brink of extinction, sometimes breeding species in captivity for the very first time. It was fascinating to hear about the frogs, exciting tales from the expeditions and about the fantastic conservation programmes that the team have initiated. Amazing that such important work is being undertaken behind the scenes at the museum!