Day 85 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, we look again at another amphibian, the Dusky Gopher Frog, which is considered to be North America’s most endangered frog species. 1. They are named for both their dark coloration and tendency to shelter in the burrows of the gopher tortoise. 2. The call of males is described as a distinctive, deep, continuous ‘snore’ (they can even call underwater). 3. Females are usually larger than the males. 4. When threatened, they cover their eyes with their feet and produce a bitter, white skin secretion. 5. They inhabit upland, sandy longleaf pine forest, favoring areas with a relatively open canopy and abundant ground vegetation.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "critically endangered." Once widespread along their native coastal plain of the southern United States, only 100 frogs are now to be found in Mississippi. Habitat loss is the primary threat, especially the reduction and fragmentation of the native longleaf pine forest from development, urban sprawl and fire suppression. This fall the Supreme Court will be reviewing the case Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This case will determine the fate of the Dusky Gopher Frog. The Fish and Wildlife Services designation of approximately 1,600 privately owned acres in Louisiana as a "critical habitat" for a species. The timber company, Weyerhaeuser, which owns the land, is not willing to let it go to save a frog. There are five ponds in close proximity on this land, which, if the frogs were translocated, would help them improve their numbers and create a metapopulation. This type of conservation has worked in other countries. Hopefully the Supreme Court will agree as well. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart