Anna Rauhaus breeds amphibians in the Cologne Zoo and works with conservation efforts in Vietnam.
Anna Rauhaus is a caretaker in the Cologne Zoo’s aquarium. Her work has made it possible to breed several species in captivity for the first time, and colleagues around the world value her knowledge and expertise in amphibian care.
On a Mission for Toads – In Cologne and Vietnam
Tropical heat, the steaming rainforest, uncounted species — while some scientists stay busy trying to catalog and describe all the amphibian species in Vietnam, their colleagues have their hands full trying to save them from extinction. Anna Rauhaus from the Cologne Zoo is one of them. With her skills as a zoo keeper, she helps her Vietnamese colleagues develop breeding spaces for endangered species, research their reproduction, and form breeding groups on site.
Mission in Vietnam
Mission in Vietnam
Ambassadors in Cologne
Amphibians are also being bred at home in Cologne. There they are ambassadors for their natural habitat and a key reserve for species conservation. In the past few years, Anna and her team have managed to breed nearly 20 species of frogs, toads, and salamanders, including highly endangered species, in their special breeding room for amphibians. The terrarium team in Cologne is specialized in endangered and little-researched species. They also help host and find homes for confiscated animals.
A particularly charming toad
One of Anna’s favorites is the Bony-Headed Toad. In Vietnam it is endangered, but in Cologne it is reproducing quickly thanks to dedicated care. “Bony-Headed Toads are beautiful animals with a very special charm,” Anna says. “I am glad we have been helping them multiply over several generations in the Cologne Zoo.” She is also pleased to see Citizen Conservation’s private breeding volunteers helping out.
“Bony-Headed Toads are beautiful animals with a very special charm.”
From passion to profession
How do you find a job like Anna’s? “I’ve always loved amphibians. Apart from the fact that they’re just very likeable, I’m fascinated by their sheer diversity.” So much so that after a few semesters at university, Anna decided to switch to something more practical that truly inspires her: animal caretaker with a focus on species conservation. She has been a caretaker in the Cologne Zoo’s terrariums since 2014. “No two days are the same,” says Anna about her dream job. “Especially with the amphibians, you have to look at their perspective and consider how to best mimic their natural living conditions. In the Cologne Zoo, it is especially nice that the breeding is combined with research and species conservation.”
Offspring in the Cologne Zoo amphibian room
Cooperation of amphibian lovers
As a part of Citizen Conservation, Anna and her team like to work with people that engage in amphibian breeding in their free time. “Ultimately, breeding space and staff is limited in zoos. With dedicated private breeders, we can expand our capacities while sharing and gaining knowledge — a win-win situation for breeding and conserving endangered species.”
And when she’s had enough of her amphibians, Anna turns to theater. She acts in an improv group, and the Wuppertal Children’s and Youth Theater. Maybe they will perform “The Frog Prince” soon — tying everything together quite nicely.
The bony-headed toad wants to be left in peace. That is why it lives far away from human settlements in the Southeast Asian rainforests. These, however, are getting scarcer. A massive problem not just for the toads.