ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A famous frog once sang, “It’s not easy bein’ green.” But even he probably had no idea just how difficult life would become for amphibians.
“Forty-three-percent of the world’s amphibians are either already extinct or declining, and that’s just a huge number,” says Mark Mandica, co-founder of The Amphibian Foundation. Statistics like that are why Mandica and his wife created the foundation, which is housed at Buckhead’s Blue Heron Nature Preserve. The Amphibian Foundation partners with agencies across the country in the fight to help frogs, salamanders, and caecilians (limbless amphibians) survive.
“There have been multiple causes identified,” Mandica says of the reasons amphibians are disappearing. “Habitat loss is huge, there’s not as much habitat as there was for them. The habitat that remains, a lot of times, is contaminated, so that’s another cause.”
A top priority for Mandica and his team is the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander. The speckled creatures have experienced a 90-percent loss in population since the year 2000. “They used to be common throughout the whole coastal plain, and now are restricted to a couple of clusters of puddles.” The hope is that captive salamanders at The Amphibian Foundation will breed, and eventually be released back into the wild.
But one of the major challenges for the foundation, Mandica says, is getting more people on-board with the mission. That’s why he says the foundation is excited to be taking part in this year’s Atlanta Science Festival, a two-week long celebration of science throughout Metro Atlanta.
The Amphibian Foundation will be hosting several events for the public during the festival run, and a full list of events may be found here.
The Good Day Atlanta feature team spent the morning inside The Amphibian Foundation, getting a look at the incredible work being done there…not to mention the fascinating animals being cared for inside.