Save the Axolotl

with The Amphibian Foundation

10% of proceeds are donated to the Amphibian Foundation.

The Axolotl

The Amphibian Foundation
 is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that leads one-of-a-kind conservation research programs to
address threatsin the southeastern United States and across the globe.

Q&A with Mark Mandica, M.Sc
Executive Director of The Amphibian Foundation

How can we support your cause and the axolotls?

There are many ways in which anyone can join the cause of amphibian conservation, both with the Amphibian Foundation and on your own. By joining the Amphibian Foundation as an annual member, you are providing critical resources for our mission and every cent goes directly to supporting amphibian conservation. You can also volunteer your time in a community science amphibian monitoring program, such as the AZA's FrogWatch program. Here in Atlanta, GA we have initiated the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program that engages the community to get outside one hour a month to monitor frogs and salamanders in their yards and neighborhoods. Lastly, we have a growing online resource for how to make your own yard more 'amphibian friendly'. We can make significant contributions to local amphibian conservation by make some simple changes literally in our own backyard. The resource can be found here.

How long have you been a part of the organization and what made you choose The Amphibian Foundation?

I started the Amphibian Foundation in 2016 because amphibians are declining at an unprecedented rate, and they are disappearing worldwide from pristine as well as developed environments. We needed an organization that would prioritize these conservation initiatives, and be able to act immediately when necessary. Indeed the conservation of amphibians, and engaging the public through programs that inspire conservation are at the center of our mission. 

How many axolotls are currently under your preservation?

We started the Amphibian Foundation by developing a captive propagation research program for the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum. This relative of the Mexican Axolotl is at imminent risk of extinction and has suffered a 90% loss in population since 2000. Now, 2.5 years after starting the Amphibian Foundation, we are working with 7 species of ambystomatid salamanders (including the Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum). We have 8 adult founder Axolotls, and have bred hundreds in captivity at our facility. We donate the offspring to other conservation institutions and educators who can help carry the message of amphibian conservation and teach others to be stewards of our shared environment, as well as champions of wildlife. 

Have you collaborated with artists in the past and could you share your feelings about the experience?

Oh yes! We have a long running Scientific Illustration Internship Program that started almost 10 years ago, when I was still managing the amphibian conservation program at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Each year, in December we highlight the artwork produced by the interns in a gallery called the 'Ribbit Exhibit'. The exhibit showcases not only the incredible work of the interns, but the beauty and diversity of the amphibians we are working so hard to save. Art is a powerful way to engage the public on issues like amphibian declines and extinctions. 



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