November 1, 2006
Biologists across the state of Georgia are taking notice of the 121 species added to the wildlife protection list.
Dr. David Vechler, a VSU biology professor, said, "There are a variety of different reasons why these species might have been added. The key things that impact the species are habitat loss, invasive species that come from outside the area or even outside the country."
The gopher tortoise, Georgia's official state reptile, remains on the list along with 15 other reptiles. The southeastern pocket gopher is the only new mammal added to the list and is considered threatened.
Kelly Luke, a VSU graduate student, said, "Being in Georgia you have landscapes from the mountains, along the coast, down to the flatlands here. Every animal occupies a different habitat and we have to promote each."
The Georgia State Wildlife Department is encouraging private landowners to work with conservationists to learn how they can help protect these species.
Bechler said, "I love nature. I like to get out there and see it and I want to preserve it for my children and the people of Georgia."
Dr. Bechler adds that one thing community members can do is be familiar with the different habitats these animals live in, and of course do your part in protecting the
In addition to the animals mentioned, the state has added three dragonfly species and 20 types of crawfish to the protection list.