There’s a story in the news about a lawsuit against the federal government over the failure to adequately protect the Mississippi gopher frog. This species, according to Kevin Zippel, program director for Amphibian Ark, may be the worst off in the nation. (Mind you, Kevin’s not the one behind the lawsuit.)

The chronology of good intentions for the Mississippi gopher frog is interesting:

 “Since 1988…”  — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with the U.S. Forest Service since 1988 to protect the last remaining Mississippi gopher frog population. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bulletin about the Mississippi gopher frog.

“2001…”— “This species is a unique part of the natural heritage of the South that could slide into extinction if we do not take action to protect and conserve it.” – Dec. 4, 2001, quote from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release.

“2007…” — “It’s certainly one of the most endangered species in the entire country. There’s about 2,000 spotted owls, and we’re talking about 200 gopher frogs.” – Quote from the policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

We are approaching, then, 20 years of trying to save this species. It miraculously hangs on from three ponds in southern Mississippi. I asked Kevin if this is a species that needs Amphibian Ark’s help (duh, I ask the sharpest questions), and he replied that:

“There is a captive program started for this species, but to date, zero breeding. What they really want is a modest facility adjacent to the natural breeding site, to take advantage of natural weather patterns.”