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Last-of-its-kind tree frog lives at Atlanta Botanical Gardens | News

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Last-of-its-kind tree frog lives at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

ATLANTA -- After millions of years on earth, a species of frog is now down to one.

The only "Rabbs fringe-limbed tree frog" from Panama lives in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This solitary amphibian calls Midtown home.

He is called "Toughie" and is a lively and feisty little male.

The frog is not for public display as it would be too stressful for the animal. But the public can see him in the July edition of National Geographic Magazine.

He may be alone, but he is not being left alone.

Frogs inhabit the Atlanta Botanical Garden benches as pieces of art.

"We don't know how old he is -- he was brought in as an adult, said Dr. Jenny Cruse-Sanders, Vice President of Science and Conservation.

And frogs inhabit a pod in the corner of the facility right off Piedmont Road.

"It is very sad actually to have the last of a species. It's a position no conversation organization wants to be in," Cruse-Sanders said. "The last time they detected this frog in nature was by its call in 2007."

But here in Atlanta captivity, Leslie Phillips, an Amphibian Specialist, answers the call .

"Generally he doesn't like to be handled and one of his defense mechanisms is this bone right here, it pinches and you can see he is driving it into my finger here to say let me go," she said.

Monday was a "weigh-in" for Toughie. He is roughly the size of an adult hand and fits nicely in the little tub on top of the scale.

Ms. Phillips looked at the scale number and told us, "So that was a good weight. He has put on a little bit of weight, he seems active and healthy right now, so there is no reason for concern at this moment."

Dr. Cruse-Sanders said "We did have male and female frogs here they did reproduce."

But the tadpoles did not live and the female died. Now Toughie lives alone nestled in his cavern feasting on a smorgasbord of crickets and otherwise is not touched very much.

"One of the valuable things we can learn from this situation is how to tell the story of bio diversity to get people to care," Cruse-Sanders said.