Amphibibian Foundation aims to save two of Georgia’s rare creatures


Georgia’s rarest amphibian, the frosted flatwoods salamander, is facing imminent extinction in the wild because its natural habitat in South Georgia’s piney woods is nearly gone.

Now, its survival may hinge on the Atlanta-based Amphibian Foundation, housed at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead. The nonprofit foundation, which works closely with other wildlife groups and agencies, is dedicated to amphibian (frogs and salamanders) conservation and research and educating the public about the importance of amphibians in nature.

When I visited last week, director Mark Mandica and wife Crystal were tending a variety of rare and endangered amphibians from around the world — all kept in home-size aquariums that line the walls of the foundation’s several rooms.

A major focus of the foundation’s current efforts, though, is saving two of Georgia’s rarest amphibians: the frosted flatwoods salamander and the Carolina gopher frog, both native to the longleaf pine flatwoods of Georgia‘s coastal plain. Both species are also highly dependent on “ephemeral pools,” small ponds that are wet for only part of the year, for breeding and rearing young.

Climate change, however, has disrupted the wet-dry cycles of the pools. Also, fire suppression, development and conversion to tree plantations have severely degraded their pine woods habitat.

For the flatwoods salamander, the situation is critical. The moderately sized salamander — black to chocolate-black with lines and specks on its back — has all but disappeared from Georgia, a 90 percent decline since 2000. Only a few small populations remain in North Florida.

The Amphibian Foundation, Mandica noted, holds the world’s only captive population of the salamander and is striving to produce offspring in captivity that will be released back into the wild in restored and protected habitat.

IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: Spring officially arrives at 6:29 a.m. Monday. The moon will be last quarter on Monday. Mercury and Venus are very low in the west around dusk. Mars is in the west at dusk and sets about three hours later. Jupiter rises out of the east before midnight. Saturn rises out of the east about three hours before sunrise.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Rob Lowe (Atlanta Symphony Hall 4/27) on ‘The Outsiders,’ the ‘Brat Pack’ name, the 1988 Atlanta sex scandal
Rob Lowe (Atlanta Symphony Hall 4/27) on ‘The Outsiders,’ the ‘Brat Pack’ name, the 1988 Atlanta sex scandal

DALLAS, TX – FEBRUARY 03: Honoree and Global Philanthropist Award recipient actor Rob Lowe at the UNICEF Gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas on February 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for UNICEF USA) Posted Friday, April 20, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho @ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk...
Bake off star recounts being detained for taking baggies of powder through airport security
Bake off star recounts being detained for taking baggies of powder through airport security

She looks like the grandma who has to cook for everyone, but Mary Berry, star of “The Great British Bake Off,” has a dark past. Berry recently recounted the time that airport security detained her for taking bags of powder through airport security, Metro reported. >> Read more trending news  Berry told Graham Norton, ...
Royal Wedding guide: Everything to know for When Harry weds Meghan
Royal Wedding guide: Everything to know for When Harry weds Meghan

On May 19, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in Windsor, England in a ceremony that will be low-key only by royal standards. For the millions of commoners expected to watch on TV, some aspects of the nuptials may seem as odd or over-the-top as the more highbrowed guests’ headgear. Other aspects will be as swoon-inducing as tiny titled...
This Life: Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition
This Life: Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition

We’ve known for some time that Atlanta is considered a hub for sex trafficking. But who knew metro Atlanta also has among the highest numbers of, ahem, sugar daddies — arrangements where older men seek the companionship of college-age women? According to SeekingArrangement.com, Georgia ranks sixth in the country, behind places like Arizona...
‘Kodachrome’ flattens colorful source material
‘Kodachrome’ flattens colorful source material

It’s fairly common for nonfiction articles to be adapted for the screen, particularly when they detail events of extreme daring or heroism. But “Kodachrome,” adapted by Jonathan Tropper, directed by Mark Raso, takes for its source material a short, poignant 2010 profile by A.G. Sulzberger in the New York Times about the people flocking...
More Stories