Gopher frogs have been slowly disappearing from Georgia’s southern pinelands for decades. Now, biologists are working to replenish the species. State biologists have been collecting egg masses from the few remaining healthy populations to raise them in captivity. Egg masses have been distributed to head-starting facilities at the University of Georgia, The Amphibian Foundation, Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery and most recently, the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Over the last decade, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, along with private organizations and other government agencies, have purchased and protected new habitat areas for gopher frogs (Rana capito). The eggs are hatched in captivity and tiny adult frogs called metamorphs are released onto the landscape.
“We’re trying to boost populations,” said Vanessa Lane, an associate professor at Abraham Baldwin. “Getting the frogs past the egg and tadpole stage gives them the best shot at surviving to adulthood.”