1074 endangered Gopher Frogs might just have a fighting chance thanks to a preservation program that released the amphibians into their new habitat in Jackson Country.
The hope that the Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier has is that the frogs will now start multiplying fast and prevent the species from going extinct. They’ve been moving them to their new home since May 2015.
The dusky gopher frog is also known as he Mississippi gopher d has been an endangers species for more than a decade, since 2001 to be exact. Melissa Perez, Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, gave a statement ingorming that the main cause was the shrinking of wet-pines savannah, a habitat that the creatures used to live in.
Perez told the Sun Herald that “The wet-pines savannah that makes up our refuge is a critically endangered area. It’s not a coincidence that the frog population continues to decrease as the refuge grows smaller”.
Angie Dedrickson, wildlife biologist, shared that the approach of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge in Gautier is to take frogs that are currently living in Saucier, in Harrison County, and take them to repopulate other habitats.
She went on to add that the dusky gopher frogs are the second endangered species that the Jackson County, hosts. They’re also making efforts to save the Mississippi Sandhill crane from going extinct.
Dedrickson stressed that the South Mississippi refuge is making a very real effort to mimic the natural habitat of the amphibians. She explains that the tadpoles hatched in Saucier are divided and placed into 50 tanks that are filled with water, pine straw and sweet gum leaves.
As soon as the tadpoles mature into frogs, they are taken out, placed in individual containers, and shipped to Vancleave where they are release into the wild.
The researchers also add a small tracking device on the left leg of each dusky gopher frog in order to be able to further monitor the creatures and assess its progress.
While the process from birth to release into a new habitat only lasts a few short months, Dedrickson insists that the success of the projects will have to wait a few years be able to be measures. The reason is that female frogs are reproductively mature starting with the age of 2, not 1, like their male counterparts.
Image Source: nature.org