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2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Photo Credit: Dirk Stevenson


Contents Our Mission.....4 The Orianne Society. What Makes Them So Special?.....5 Lands Program.....6 Captive Conservation.....8 Conservation Science.....10 Citizen Science and Outreach.....21 Thank You for Your Support.....22 Our Supporters.....23 Take Action.....24

Photo Credit: Dylan Kelly

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Message from the CEO

Photo Credit: Steve Winter

This year has been one of great accomplishments. I cannot say enough about our amazing staff and partners who come together and give everything they have for the conservation of animals that most others have forgotten. I want to share some of those accomplishments with you as examples of the strength of our partnerships. We have been monitoring Eastern Indigo Snake populations for 5 years in one of their remaining strongholds, the Altamaha River Basin of south Georgia. This year we completed a study using monitoring data on the occurrence of Indigo Snakes basin wide. This study was conducted in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the results will help the state manage snake populations in the future by providing distribution information, an understanding of the factors that influence their distribution, and an understanding of how effective our surveys are at detecting snakes. Our Land Management Team has planted over 312,000 Longleaf Pine seedlings on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve and restored thousands of acres of habitat on private and state-owned land with prescribed fire. We have completed construction on outdoor enclosures at our breeding center, The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. We have hatched our first Indigo Snake at the center, and have successfully bred and had multiple clutches laid this summer. With the release of snakes this past spring, we have now released approximately 100 Indigo Snakes back into an area where they have been long extinct, restoring a top predator to Conecuh National Forest in Alabama. We successfully translocated 16 tortoises to the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve, restoring critical habitat for many species of reptiles and amphibians that depend on their burrows. We completed 3 years of telemetry work on Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont. The data collected during this project will afford us the ability to prioritize land protection and stewardship activities in the region to ensure the persistence of Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont. There are many more examples of our accomplishments throughout this report and I invite you to continue reading to learn about them from the true experts, our conservation biologists. These are the people conducting the work on the ground to ensure there is a voice and actions taken for the conservation of rare reptiles and amphibians.

Christopher L. Jenkins, PhD CEO, The Orianne Society 3


The Orianne Society is dedicated to the conservation of rare and imperiled reptiles and amphibians. Our conservation efforts are modeled after our flagship program to restore and conserve the Eastern Indigo Snake. We use science to guide all of our on-the-ground conservation actions for these species and the ecosystems they inhabit. We are focused on measurable outcomes and succeed through partnerships, dedication, and hard work.

Louisiana Pine Snake (Pituophis ruthveni)

Photo Credit: Pete Oxford

mission

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There is an abundance of conservation groups around the world, all of them doing great things, but no one implements conservation quite like The Orianne Society. First, there are very few groups that are

dedicated to the conservation of rare reptiles and amphibians. This

group of animals is often overlooked in the conservation world and it is difficult to sway public opinion to save these species.

Photo Credit: Pete Oxford

The Orianne Society? What makes Them So Special?

Second, most organizations focus on pieces and parts of conserving a species, for example, protecting land or implementing reintroductions. Here at The Orianne Society, we do our research

and use a comprehensive approach to species conservation. Once we

determine what is causing a species to decline, we develop programs that are aimed at mitigating those factors- not one or two of them, but all of the factors that cause a species to decline.

Third, we carefully select these species. We look to conserve species that act as umbrella species, meaning that by saving these species, we are contributing to conserving the ecosystems they inhabit and many other species that use these environments. And lastly, we monitor our programs carefully to ensure that the model we

are using for species conservation is successful or if changes need to be

made to ensure a species will persist.

That, in a nutshell, is what makes The Orianne Society special.

Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus aestivus) 5


Georgia

Lands program Our Lands Program includes both the implementation of land protection and land management and restoration, all to benefit the conservation of rare reptiles and amphibians. We began purchasing tracts of land to be protected as the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve in 2009. Since this time, the focus of this area has grown to include 48,704 acres. Of this, The Orianne Society owns 2,607 acres and 10,343 acres are owned by cooperating state agencies and private landowners. The remaining area is unprotected. Our ultimate goal is to protect and manage this property through easements, purchase, and partnerships.

Our highly trained Land Management Team works tirelessly to restore and enhance the Longleaf Pine and sand ridges within the Preserve. They know that the protection and management in this area will provide critical habitat for species such as Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi), Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus). The Land Management Team implements practices such as prescribed fire, Longleaf Pine planting, ground cover restoration, invasive species removal, and hardwood timber harvest to meet our goal of restoring this landscape. However, none of this could be accomplished without the cooperation and assistance of our partners. Whether they are private landowners, state or federal agencies, or other nonprofit organizations, our partners are what enable us to be effective on the ground, allowing us to increase the amount of land we can conserve and restore for these unique animals and the ecosystems themselves.

Implementing prescribed fire. Photo Credit: Pete Oxford

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LANDS PROGRAM Accomplishments in 2012 • Have led or assisted on a total of 4,600 acres of prescribed fire, including burning with over 14 private landowners, The Nature Conservancy, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the Georgia Land Trust. • Prepared over 25 miles of firebreaks to make for more efficient and safer prescribed fire implementation. • Planted approximately 312,000 Longleaf Pine seedlings on approximately 520 acres of the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. • Assisted in establishing over 200 acres of Longleaf Pine on private partners’ lands by providing services to landowners such as prescribed fire for site preparation and coordinating tree planting contractors. • Collected approximately 150 pounds of native groundcover seed for groundcover restoration efforts on private lands. • Applied prescribed fire and herbicide application to non-native invasive plants to restore mountain bogs in North Georgia where Bog Planting Longleaf Pine seedlings. Photo Credit: Wayne Taylor Turtle reintroductions or education outreach efforts may occur. • Partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to purchase seed harvesting and planting equipment to support habitat restoration projects. • Formalized the Altamaha/Fort Stewart Longleaf Partnership with the Department of Defense (Ft. Stewart), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, The Georgia Land Trust, and the Longleaf Alliance to coordinate and implement restoration efforts in the Altamaha/Ft. Stewart Significant Landscape areas. • Secured cost-share funding over the next two years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program/Working Lands for Wildlife - Gopher Tortoise Habitat Restoration Program for over 1,500 acres of prescribed fire and erosion control and 150 acres of invasive species management within the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve.

Goals for the LANDS PROGRAM in 2013 • We will continue to develop private landowner partnerships to support our conservation efforts for Eastern Indigo Snakes, Gopher Tortoises, and other rare reptiles and amphibians. • We will establish Longleaf Pine on approximately 200 additional acres of the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. • We plan to restore approximately 50 acres of siteappropriate groundcover on privately owned lands within the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. • We will continue to provide land management support to private landowners and agency partners in the newly formed Altamaha/Ft. Stewart Longleaf Partnership. • We will host annual outreach events on and around the Preserve to emphasize to the public the importance of restoring Longleaf Pine and natural community restorations on private lands.

Orianne Land Management Team. Photo Credit: Erica Pfleiderer

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Florida

Captive Conservation The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC) is the live animal facility for The Orianne Society’s captive breeding programs and has been in operation since January 2012. The OCIC maintains our current colony of 47 Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi), our flagship species, for the purpose of propagation and reintroduction. Colony development is driven by the opportunity to acquire genetically relevant founder stock for future reintroduction programs. New techniques to sustain the reproductive potential of the colony continue to be developed in consultation with experts in the field along with original research, and promoting long-term individual health and reproductive viability.

Further scientific studies will be initiated to evaluate and understand environmental and neuroendocrine control of reproduction, along with a better understanding of Indigo social behavior, blood values, hormonal influences, thermal biology and energetics, and nutrition. In addition to our Eastern Indigo Snake Initiative, the OCIC maintains and manages additional captive programs in support of The Orianne Society’s mission. We maintain a large collection of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) and Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) which contribute to our commitment to end traditional rattlesnake roundups in the southeast. In a partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Evans County Wildlife Club, in March 2013 we again participated in the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival by bringing 20 live adult rattlesnakes for exhibit. During the weekend we presented snake conservation talks and hosted an Orianne Society booth to personally interact with festival visitors. Rattlesnake roundups are traditionally kill events (snakes killed for meat and hides) but for the second year in a row, no rattlesnakes were harmed in this unique conversion from “roundup” to “festival”, which proved to be a success on all levels. The OCIC also maintains select startup colonies of endangered snake species as assurance colonies for future work both in captivity and in the field. Current species include Louisiana Pine Snake (Pituophis ruthveni), Mexican Pygmy Rattlesnake (Crotalus ravus), Bushmaster (Lachesis muta) and the Chinese Mangshan Viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis). A selection of local snake species are also part of the OCIC collection for our conservation education outreach programs in the central Florida area.

Measuring Eastern Indigo Snake eggs at The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. Photo Credit: Sean Antonio

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CAPTIVE CONSERVATION Accomplishments in 2012

Photo Credit: Chris Jenkins

• Implemented maintenance and development of Eastern Indigo Snake breeding colony with first hatching July 2012. The colony of 45 individuals is being developed for captive propagation for reintroduction programs. This was the fourth year the OCIC has contributed Indigos for the Conecuh National Forest Indigo Reintroduction Program. • In a partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Evans County Wildlife Club, in March 2013 we participated by bringing 20 live adult rattlesnakes for exhibit and presented snake conservation talks supporting the conversion from “roundup” to “festival”. • Established select startup colonies of endangered snake species including Louisiana Pine Snake, Mexican Pygmy Rattlesnake, Bushmaster and the Chinese Mangshan Viper. • Implemented first full year of veterinary coverage provided by University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Zoological Medicine Program with scheduled field visits to the OCIC and cases transported to UF Small Animal Clinic, Gainesville, FL. • Continued to promote snake conservation messages by traveling to meetings and events, presenting our “Saving the Eastern Indigo Snake” and “Snakes of Central Florida” program, as well as our on-site program “Explore the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation”. During 2012, these combined programs reached over 13,000 people in 10 separate events.

Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi)

Goals for CAPTIVE CONSERVATION in 2013 • Acquisition of Eastern Indigo Snakes from the gulf region of Florida to bolster genetic representation in the OCIC colony. These individuals will be important in the production of offspring to be released in Florida panhandle reintroduction sites. • Continue to research health issues of Indigo Snakes both in captivity and in the field. • Publish the third edition of the American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) Studbook for the Eastern Indigo Snake, Species Survival Plan. • Construct more outdoor Indigo enclosures for the Indigo colony. • Build up numbers and the genetic diversity of the snake species in our assurance colonies. • Continue facility upgrades and removal of invasive plant species.

Eastern Indigo Snake eggs. Photo Credit: Fred Antonio

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Global

Conservation Science The Orianne Society’s Conservation Science Program provides information through researching and monitoring rare and at-risk species. We use this information to guide our on-the-ground conservation efforts, both within The Orianne Society by working with our Land Management and Captive Conservation Programs, and through our network of partners. The Orianne Society is a science-fueled organization and all of our programs use science to inform our on-the-ground conservation actions. Science is our foundation.

EASTERN INDIGO SNAKE The Orianne Society's Indigo Snake Initiative (ISI) works to ensure the range-wide conservation of the organization's flagship species, the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). The research and monitoring projects within the ISI address specific questions about Eastern Indigo Snakes in Georgia and Florida that we need to understand in order to protect and maintain existing populations, as well as guide the reintroduction of new populations in places where Eastern Indigo Snakes were extirpated.

Above: Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) Tag being inserted into an Eastern Indigo Snake which allows us to identify the individual during recaptures. Right: Eastern Indigo Snake in Cypress Swamp. Photo Credits: Pete Oxford. 10


Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving EASTERN INDIGO SNAKES • Completed two and one half years of radio tracking 30 Eastern Indigo Snakes in Highlands County, Florida as part of a study examining the effects of landscape composition and configuration on Eastern Indigo Snake population viability in southern Florida. Submitted an annual progress report to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2012. • Began developing an individual-based population viability model for Eastern Indigo Snakes in central Florida that will allow us to determine how landscape composition and configuration influences Eastern Indigo Snake population viability and identify areas where populations can persist long term. • Began collecting DNA from 118 Eastern Indigo Snake tissue samples from 13 counties in central and southern Florida to determine how many distinct populations occur in these regions and how landscape features influence the genetic connectivity of these populations. • Completed a population and landscape genetics analysis on microsatellite DNA data from 285 Eastern Indigo Snakes from 28 different locations across southern Georgia and identified population structure and how landscape characteristics influence that structure. Presented the results of this study at the 2013 U.S. International Association for Landscape Ecology Meeting in Austin, Texas. • Collected microsatellite DNA data from 80 Eastern Indigo Snakes to test for multiple paternities among the juveniles hatched as part of the Eastern Indigo Snake reintroduction program in Alabama. • Completed a fourth winter field season of monitoring Eastern Indigo Snakes through mark-recapture on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve and other focal study sites in southern Georgia, capturing and marking 42 individuals, including the first young-of-the-year Eastern Indigo Snake documented on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. • Completed a third winter field season of monitoring Eastern Indigo Snake occupancy in the Lower Altamaha River Drainage, detecting Eastern Indigo Snakes at 10 of our 40 monitoring sites (25%). Prepared an annual progress report for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. • Used the data from our occupancy monitoring study to identify habitat features at multiple spatial scales that influence Eastern Indigo Snake presence at potential overwintering habitat. • Assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in updating and expanding the Recovery Plan for the Eastern Indigo Snake and identifying criteria for recovery and delisting. • Published a manuscript describing the current range-wide distribution and status of the Eastern Indigo Snake in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Herpetological Conservation and Biology.

Eastern Indigo Snakes are often found in disturbed habitats in Florida but we really are not sure how important these habitats are for Indigo Snakes. A major goal of our research in Florida is to answer the question, “to what extent do disturbed landscapes contribute to Eastern Indigo Snake conservation in Florida?” 11


Photo Credit: Pete Oxford

Goals for Conserving EASTERN INDIGO SNAKES in 2013 • Complete our radio telemetry study in Highlands County, Florida, submit a final report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and prepare one or more manuscripts for publication in a scientific journal. • Use the radio telemetry data from Highlands County, Florida, to continue developing an individual-based population viability model for Eastern Indigo Snakes in central Florida. • Continue collecting tissue samples from Eastern Indigo Snakes throughout central and southern Florida to complete our population and landscape genetics study. • Expand our work on Eastern Indigo Snakes in Florida by developing partnerships focused on studying Eastern Indigo Snakes in unusual habitats or landscapes where their ecology is poorly understood and then using the data we collect to estimate the viability of Eastern Indigo Snake populations in those areas. • Submit a manuscript of the southern Georgia population and landscape genetics study for publication in a scientific journal. • Submit a manuscript of our occupancy monitoring and habitat analysis for Eastern Indigo Snakes in the Lower Altamaha River Drainage for publication in a scientific journal. • Complete a fifth winter field season of Eastern Indigo Snake mark-recapture monitoring at the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve and other focal sites in southern Georgia. • Develop a range-wide habitat model for Eastern Indigo Snakes and use the model to identify important Eastern Indigo Snake conservation units. • Complete the analysis of the thermal ecology study and submit a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal.

Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) 12


GOPHER TORTOISE

The Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program (GTCP) works within the Conservation Science's Indigo Snake Initiative to monitor and maintain the health of Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) populations on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. Because Gopher Tortoises are essential to the conservation of Eastern Indigo Snakes in southern Georgia, we want to ensure that Gopher Tortoise populations on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve are able to continue to provide quality Eastern Indigo Snake overwintering habitat. We accomplish this by regularly monitoring Gopher Tortoise populations and their response to land management practices on the Preserve.

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving GOPHER TORTOISES • Finished collecting radio telemetry data on 21 translocated and 15 resident adult Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve and Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Yuchi Wildlife Management Area to determine if those translocated tortoises are establishing residency at their release sites and submitted a final project report in June 2013. • Compared body condition, home range size, habitat use and selection between translocated and resident Gopher Tortoises.

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) at burrow entrance. Photo Credit: Kevin Stohlgren

Goals for Conserving GOPHER TORTOISES in 2013

• Prepare a manuscript of the Gopher Tortoise Translocation Project for publication in a scientific journal. • Develop a protocol for assessing the degree of population recruitment for Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. 13


Photo Credit: Kiley Briggs

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

EASTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Conservation Program (EDBCP) works within the Indigo Snake Initiative to promote the conservation of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) across its range. We accomplish this through a combination of field studies that monitor existing populations and scientific research to address specific questions needed to better manage and conserve Eastern Diamondbacks. We then use this information to work with a diverse group of federal, state, non-governmental organizations, and private organizations and individuals to develop management strategies for Eastern Diamondbacks.

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving EASTERN DIAMONDBACKS

• Completed the second and final field season studying the influence of habitat and landscape characteristics on Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake occupancy on Georgia’s coastal barrier islands and successfully submitted a M.S. thesis by an Orianne Society graduate student. • Completed a third winter field season of monitoring Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake occupancy in the Lower Altamaha River Drainage, detecting Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes at 16 of our 40 monitoring sites (40%). • Used the data from our occupancy monitoring study to identify habitat features at multiple spatial scales that influence Eastern Diamondback presence at potential overwintering habitat. • Completed a fifth winter field season of monitoring Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes through mark-recapture on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve, capturing and marking 11 individuals. • Hosted the third meeting for the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Conservation Action Plan at the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve.

Goals for Conserving EASTERN DIAMONDBACKS in 2013

• Submit two manuscripts from our study on Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes on Georgia’s coastal barrier islands, one on Eastern Diamondback population modeling and one on Eastern Diamondback occupancy modeling on Georgia’s barrier islands. • Submit a manuscript of our occupancy monitoring and habitat analysis for Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes in the Lower Altamaha River Drainage for publication in a scientific journal. • Complete a fifth winter field season of mark-recapture monitoring at the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. • Complete final draft of Eastern Diamondback Conservation Action Plan. • Begin an inventory study of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes to assess their status in Georgia. • Begin a study examining the impacts of fire management in the southeast Georgia coastal plan on Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake spatial and population ecology. 14


Photo Credit: Heidi Hall

The Orianne Society is working to prevent further declines and promote the recovery of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in the Appalachian Region. In Vermont, where there are only two populations remaining, we conducted field studies to determine what habitats rattlesnakes were using at what time of the year. The goal of this work is to provide information to land managers in order to aid them in conserving areas where rattlesnakes occur. We are also working to help update the recovery plan for Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont. In the southern Appalachians of Georgia and North Carolina, we are monitoring the baseline status of the species to determine the level of decline in this area. This includes both compiling past observations and conducting targeted field surveys.

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving TIMBER RATTLESNAKES

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Tracked 16 rattlesnakes in Vermont in 2012 to determine habitat use and movement patterns Over 2011-2012, marked 144 unique individuals in Vermont. Used movement results to determine which areas to prioritize for future rattlesnake land protection. Continued to support the Vermont rattlesnake removal program. Developed a database of southern Appalachian Timber Rattlesnake habitat areas in north Georgia which combined past observations with surveys in 2012.

Goals for Conserving TIMBER RATTLESNAKES in 2013

• Continue to assist with population monitoring efforts of rattlesnakes in Vermont. • Work to understand and prevent outbreaks of an emerging fungal disease in Vermont rattlesnakes. • Continue surveys for southern Appalachian Timber Rattlesnakes to fill in data gaps. • Initiate a study to understand the effects of fire on Timber Rattlesnakes in Georgia.

Photo Credit: Heidi Hall

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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HELLBENDERS The goal of this project is to use environmental DNA (eDNA) extracted from river water to detect populations of the threatened Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Hellbenders often occur at low population sizes and can be difficult to survey. Therefore, a non-invasive method that allows for detection of Hellbenders without extensive survey effort would be a valuable monitoring tool. Monitoring Hellbender populations in an efficient and less time-consuming manner is important as this is a proposed species for listing under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act.

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving HELLBENDERS

Photo Credit: Steve Spear

Photo Credit: Mike Freake

• Developed a Hellbender eDNA genetic marker and used a technique that allows us to both detect presence and estimate amount of DNA in water. • In collaboration with partners in North Carolina and Tennessee, collected 200 water samples for eDNA analysis. • Successfully detected Hellbenders at all sites with recent records of Hellbender presence. • Identified Hellbender presence through eDNA at 10 sites without previous records of Hellbender presence. • Sampled several sites across the year which demonstrated a consistent increase in eDNA during the breeding season, which may allow us to use eDNA in assessing population reproductive status. • As a member of the Tennessee Hellbender Recovery Partnership, received the State Wildlife Action Plan Partnership Award. • Participated in an Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies webinar to describe the results of the Tennessee Hellbender eDNA work. • Was an invited workshop instructor for eDNA techniques at the 2013 Northwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting. Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) in stream.

Goals for Conserving HELLBENDERS in 2013

• Continue eDNA sampling across North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as adding sites in Georgia. • Continue to focus on detecting Hellbenders at sites with either no records or only historic observations to assess current range extent. • Continue to explore eDNA response to Hellbender reproductive activity. • Analyze correlation of eDNA estimates with population size to test potential for eDNA as a population size assessment tool. 16


MIDGET FADED RATTLESNAKE

Midget Faded Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus concolor) are a unique subspecies of Western Rattlesnake that occurs only in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. We are using field surveys and habitat modeling to identify areas that are most important to populations and understand the potential impacts of energy development on future persistence. In the past, we have modeled population habitat use that is being used for management in Wyoming and are currently conducting similar work in Colorado.

Photo Credit: Josh Parker

Midget Faded Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor)

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving MIDGET FADED RATTLESNAKES • Surveyed 95 different potential den sites (based on our Wyoming models projected to Colorado) across western Colorado. • Identified 22 den sites for Midget Faded Rattlesnakes in western Colorado. • Used our survey results to build a preliminary den site model specifically for Colorado. • Met with Bureau of Land Management officials in Colorado to present our preliminary model and provide guidance on how they can be used to guide management of the species on Bureau of Land Management lands.

Goals for Conserving MIDGET FADED RATTLESNAKES in 2013 • Conduct a second year of den surveys to validate our preliminary Colorado den model. • Develop proposals to initiate surveys in Utah to assess status in that state (the core area of Midget Faded Rattlesnake range), as well as to continue monitoring in Wyoming.

Midget Faded Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor). Photo Credit: Steve Spear

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BUSHMASTERS

Bushmasters (Lachesis spp.) are the largest pitvipers in the world and are iconic species for primary rainforest ecosystems in the Neotropics. Bushmasters are thought to be declining due to habitat destruction and human persecution. Due to the extreme difficulty in locating Bushmasters, they have received very little research or conservation attention. We are initiating efforts to determine the conservation status of the two species of Bushmasters occurring in Central America and use this information for conservation actions.

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving BUSHMASTERS • Developed partnerships on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica (for Black-Headed Bushmasters) and in Panama (for Central American Bushmasters) that will be important for carrying out studies and implementing conservation actions. • Conducted initial surveys in both Panama and Costa Rica to identify field sites, solidify partnerships and help determine techniques that would likely be most successful. • Initiated the Range-wide Bushmaster Partnership to support long-term conservation efforts: initial membership included AZA institutions that are members of the Bushmaster Species Survival Plan and can help provide support for conservation efforts.

Goals for Conserving BUSHMASTERS in 2013 • Develop an effective survey methodology for locating Bushmasters. • Implement regular surveys in Bushmaster habitat to begin to assess current status. • Initiate radio telemetry efforts to provide information on resource use as well as to provide a means to locate additional associated Bushmaster individuals. • Develop an education/outreach module for Bushmasters and other venomous snakes in the area to supplement education efforts already being done by local partners.

Photo Credit: Marisa Ishimatsu

Black-Headed Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala)

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Our Western Rattlesnake work includes initiatives to model animal movement connectivity across fragmented landscapes. The result of this work will be an important conservation tool to preserve rattlesnake populations. Most of these types of efforts have focused on large mammals, but reptiles are also susceptible to landscape-level fragmentation. As part of the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group, we are working to identify key areas for connectivity of Western Rattlesnakes in the Columbia Basin of the northwestern United States. This information can then assist managers in planning future land development.

Accomplishments in 2012 Conserving WESTERN RATTLESNAKES

Photo Credit: Marisa Ishimatsu

WESTERN RATTLESNAKES

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus)

• Created a model of key habitat areas and connectivity corridors for Western Rattlesnakes in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. • Conducted surveys to identify the location of rattlesnake dens in the key habitat areas. • Used this information to plan a sampling design for a study to validate our connectivity model using genetic data.

Credit: Steve Spear

Goals for Conserving WESTERN RATTLESNAKES in 2013

Model of key habitat areas.

• Collect genetic samples across the modeled habitat areas and corridors. • Use genetic data to test whether predicted connectivity corridors actually increase gene flow. • Focus sampling areas around wind energy installations to better understand the effect of this rapidly growing type of energy development.

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PARCAs

Accomplishments in 2012 Identifying PARCAs • Identified 85 PARCAs across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. • Conducted targeted species surveys and a citizen science bioblitz to ground truth herpetofaunal diversity at a subset of PARCAs. • Presented PARCA results at the Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting and the US Landscape Ecology meetings.

Photo Credit: Chase McLean

PARCAs (Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas) are areas with either high herpetological diversity or have presence of rare species of conservation concern. These areas are very similar to the more widely known Important Bird Areas (IBAs). This effort involves both computer modeling methods and expert opinion meetings with local scientists and managers to create the final PARCAs for each state. We were involved in the effort to define PARCAs, with the southeastern United States as our focal region. Black-Bellied Salamanders (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)

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Photo Credit: Heidi Hall

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Global

Citizen Science and outreach The Orianne Society’s Citizen Science and Outreach activities are aimed at getting private citizens involved in the research and conservation of reptiles and amphibians and to educate the public about the value of these species.

Photo Credit: DIRK STEVENSON

Accomplishments of the CITIZEN SCIENCE AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES in 2012

• Implemented Education Outreach at numerous events, including events such as The Southeast Wildlife Expo, The Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, The Chattooga River Festival, and the Hambidge Art Festival. Outreach events reached an approximate number of 70,000 people in the 2012-2013 reporting year. • Gave public presentations at multiple events, including venues such as the Atlanta Science Tavern, The Fernbank Science Center, the Sandy Creek Nature Center, and Tall Timbers Research Station. • Implemented four Citizen Science Bioblitz events that were well-attended, including Places You’ve Never Herped Altamaha River Blitz, Places You’ve Never Herped Tugaloo Blitz, Indigo Snake Blitz, and Cay Creek Preserve Blitz. • Began to lead an international Year of the Snake effort by organizing multiple organizations to educate the public on the importance of snakes, including creating a monthly e-newsletter.

Photo Credit: Heidi Hall

Photo Credit: Heidi Hall

CITIZEN SCIENCE AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES in 2013

• Host the next two citizen science bioblitz events in the Places You’ve Never Herped series. • Continue to participate in large outreach events, focusing on events in the southeast. 21


Photo Credit: Dirk Stevenson

From captive propagation to land preservation to leading scientific research, The Orianne Society leaves no stone unturned in our mission to save the Eastern Indigo Snake and other imperiled reptiles and amphibians around the world. We can employ this aggressive approach only with the support of our members-- who not only supply much-needed financial support, but also inspire us everyday with their commitment to snake conservation.

Eastern Coachwhip (Coluber flagellum flagellum)

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OUR SUPPORTERS Skyler Abell Kraig Adler Justin Agan Nathaniel Akers Carl and Chris Alimonti John Andermann Todd Angel James Angley Arthur Antonio David Antonio Dean Antonio Fred Antonio J P Antonio Rudolf Arndt Don Ashley Lauren Augustine Teresa Aurora Jared Bailey Neil Balchan Gary Baldaeus Stephen Barten William C Bartlett Rudy Bauder Michael Beacham Teri and Bob Beard Keith and Karen Beaty Thomas Beauvais Scott and Allison Beck Catherine Bell John Beller Randal Berry Brittany Bird Michael Black James Blodgett Connie Blyler The Bobolink Foundation Nick Boehm Frederick Bohler Rebecca Bolt Richard Boschen Richard Boschen, III Dermot Bowden Shannon Bowley Robert Bradbury Erica Bradley Bill Brandt Kris T Brenard & Barbara B Powers Chip Bridges Chris Brookshire Tim Brophy Bernard Brown Brittney Brown John A. Brubaker John Brueggen Jacquelyn Burns Thomas Bush Tim Bushey Joel (Tom) Butler Nathan Byer Andrew Cannon Rob Carmichael Michael Carter Larry Cartmill Lewis Cassidy Gregory Caudill David W Ceilley Cynthia Chaplin Alexander Chester Heyward Clamp Myke Clarkson Natalie Claunch Peter and Licia Cleaveland Rob and Olga Cole Tim Cole Andrew Coleman Justin Collins Emily Columbo Polly Conrad Conservation International

Adam Cooner Cynthia Corey Laurie Coritz Michael Corn Travis Cossette Samuel Crawford Gary Crider Clayton Croom Kevin Croom Steve Crosby Bronson Curry Joel Curzon Daphne Recanati Foundation Chris Daughtry MC Davis Teresa DeAnzo The L. Dee Family Foundation/Deborah Oken Steve DeCresie Robert Delaney Nan Dillon The Dobson Foundation, Inc. Debbie Doss Dresden School District Daniel Duff John Duktig Terry Dunham Derek Dunlop Andrew Durso Jamie Dutil Michelle Dziak Edisto Island Serpentarium Thomas Emmel Erwin-Warth-Stuftung Jay Eubanks Bill Everitt Jack Facente Penny Felski Christine Fiechtl Danise Fields Noah Fields Whitney Fischer Zachery Forsburg Fort Worth Zoo Jane Fraser Frazier & Deeter Foundation Mike Frees Gideon Frisbee Robert Fulton Jennifer Garretson Ryan George Georgia Department of Natural Resources Hugh Gilbert Christine Girty Danielle Glover Caren Goldberg Bill Goss Jimi Gragg Ellen Gray Greg Graziani Great Northern Landscape Conservation Co-op Harry Greene Cynthia Griffith Eitan Grunwald Cris Hagen Heather Hall Heidi Hall Jenny Hall Richard Hall Vickie Hall Bryan Hamilton Sarah Hamilton Megan Hancock Nancy Hanley Brian Hanssens Virginia Harman William Harrington Bess Harris Kathryn Hearon Kirsten Hecht

Shawn Heflick George Heinrich Tom Hennigan Harold Herring III Robert Herrington Aubrey Heupel Susan Heupel Pierson Hill Rob Hill T. J. Hilliard Johnathan Hodges Jacob Holm Ariel Horner Stephanie Howard Mike Howlett Bryan Hudson Jeff Humphries James Hunt Luke Hunter Bill Huseth Maureen Ippolito Sara Irrgang Brent Jackson Cherie Jackson Mike Jackson Shep Jackson Tarah Jacobs Jessica Jeronimo Laura Jewell Denim Jochimsen Marlene Jochimsen Bill Johnson Clifford Johnson Jon Johnson Mike Johnson David Jones Jason Jones Michael Jordan Phillip Jordan Michael Jordon Jason Kelly Joe Kidd Kelsie Kincaid Gary Kirkland Andrew Koraleski Amy Kramer Marianne Kramer Megan Kramer Chris and Margit Krato Christopher Kubic Jeff Kuperberg Linda La Claire Thomas LaDuke George Lambert Ted Levin Judy Levy Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation Scott Lillie Jim Lineberger Sandi Linn Laura Liptak Raymond Little John Lobello Justyne Lobello Chris Long Rosalind Lord Mark Lotterhand Kyle Loucks Keith Lovern Carol Maddrey Thomas Maigret Eugene Martin Glenn McCullough Frances McDonald Elizabeth McFall Alison McGee Misty McKanna Anna McKee

Tom McKee James McLaughlin Violet McMahon Rebecca McManamon Helen Meadors Memphis Zoological Society Marc Merlin Rosy Metcalfe Chesney Migl Emily Mikus Erika Millen Christina Miller Jack Miller Charles Mobley Matthew Moore William Moore Dave Morningstar Priya Nanjappa Naples Zoo-General Account National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Kathryn Naylor Nathan Nazdrowicz William Neeld Matt Neff Catherine Nelson Kerry Nelson Donald Newman Erica Newman Daniel Nicholas Barry Nichols Daniel Nichols Kim Nix Kimberly Novick Oakland Nature Preserve, Inc. Ben O’Connor Justin Oguni Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Zach Orr Robert and Nancy Paden Frank Panaro Vickie Peace Pearls Jr. Woman’s Club Of Rabun, Inc. Jonathan Peartree Charles Peterson Robin Peterson Charles Pfeifer Todd Pierson Michael Pingleton Tricia Pittmon Angela Pitts Sara Plesuk Jennifer Porter William Pound Clifford Preston Howard Pridmore Chad Propst Kitty Pupedis Nicole Ranalli Sam Rankin Amy Raybuck Robert Richie Micah Riddle Daniel Riggs Jayne Ritter Riverbanks Society Dan Roberts Mark Robertson Scott Ross Julianna Rossi Stephanos Roussos Philip Roy Lee and Marilyn Russell William Russo Gary & Phyllis Ruther Andrew Sabin Foundation Jenny Sanders Kenneth Satterwhite John and Carol Schickel Gerald Schneider

Andy Schwartz Gary Scott Donny Screws Joseph Scurlock Stacey Sekscienski James Seymour Charles Silva Jack Sites Erin Smestad Barry Smith Conrad Smith Lora Smith Michael Smith Robert Smith Johanna Snijder Marianne Snyder John A. & Susan Sobrato John Michael Sobrato Andrew Spear Kenneth and Bettye Spear Stephen Spear Ed Speas Michael Spencer Sarah St.Pierre Stephanie Stalker Kristin Stanford Carisa Stansbury David Steen Ben Stegenga Sean Sterrett J. Whitney Stevens Cecil Stevenson Michael Stohlgren Karen Stohlgren Brian Strange Joel Strong Brock Struecker Elizabeth Summers Clayton Swain Randy Tate Andrew Tavolacci Nancy Taylor James Thomas Greg Thompson Reese Thompson Kathy Thorbjarnarson Eric Tillman Kimberly Titterington Valorie Titus Charles Todd Brad Tornwall Richard Trotta Zachary Truelock Cindy Truen Michael Turner Unitarian Universalist Congregation Kevin Urbanek Chad Vanis Georgeann Venis Claire Verdier Dan Vickers Sara E. Viernum Kent Vliet Richard Vliet Jessica Wadleigh Philip Wartel Barbara Watkins Eugene Weichens Elsey Wellehan West Volusia Audubon Society, Inc. Cari Westbrook Lawrence White Zachary Whitman Kendrick Wilson III Women for the Woods Andrew Wyatt John Zegel Sarah Zundel

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take action Membership An annual membership to The Orianne Society is more than a tax deduction. It is a chance to be a part of a group effort to conserve the biodiversity of our ecosystems. The membership also makes a wonderful gift. Select our membership plus t-shirt package and not only will the recipient get the usual member benefits, but will also be able to promote snake conservation with our handsome Orianne Society t-shirt. Visit: www.oriannesociety.org/give-gift

Adopt an Indigo Our Adopt an Animal program supports an Eastern Indigo for an entire year and comes with other benefits, such as an adoption certificate and automatic Orianne Society Membership. But the biggest benefit is knowing you raised an Indigo that will be released into the wild so that this species remains the Emperor of the Forest for many generations to come. Visit: www.oriannesociety.org/adopt-indigo

Planned Giving Don’t just plan for your future, plan for the future of reptiles and amphibians and the great places they inhabit. Whether you want to set up an annual donation or plan a deferred gift, we can work together to determine what you want your gift to support and how it will benefit these amazing animals and landscapes. Send us an email at info@oriannesociety.org or call our headquarters at 706.212.0112

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Photo Credit: Pete Oxford


2012-2013 Annual Report