COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – Wildlife scientists and the Riverbanks Zoo are teaming up to save South Carolina’s endangered waffle frogs.
The survival rate of frog eggs and tadpoles is extremely low, so the Department of Natural Resources finds the eggs in the wetlands of the Lowcountry and the zoo keeps them in captivity.
“It’s about how best to use our strengths for species conservation,” Natural Resources herpetologist Andrew Grosse said in a statement.
Wildlife scientists are also working to restore the habitat of waffle frogs, so eggs and tadpoles have a better chance of survival when they return to the wild, Grosse said.
Frogs live in longleaf pines and are a good indicator of the health of this environmental system.
“They have a very complex life cycle and highly specialized habitat requirements,” said Grosse. “All the pieces need to be in place and functioning at a high level to support these fragile populations. “
Several hundred frogs have been saved thanks to the South Carolina program and similar efforts in North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, officials said.
The project attempts to keep frogs off the federal endangered species list. Scientists call it “Head Start” because it gives frogs a head start to survive.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Get local news delivered to your inbox!