Toads on Roads
Why did the Toad Cross the Road?
Common toads are declining in numbers and need our help. At this time of year thousands of toads are killed crossing our roads as they migrate to their breeding ponds. Last year volunteer patrollers in Gloucestershire helped 4,000 toads to safely cross the road. Come and find out more about these amazing animals and practical ways you can help, at a talk given by Gloucestershire Toads on Roads.
There is no charge for this talk, to reserve your place please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 12th February at 4:30pm
Nature in Art
Main A38 Twigworth
Ringwood & Poulner Toad Patrol start gearing up for coming toad migration season
It is almost that time of year where motorists on Hampshire’s roads are urged to take extra care whilst driving over country roads at night; hibernating toads and frogs will soon wake up and start their annual migration to their spawning ponds and lakes. Local conservationist Teresa Baker of the Ringwood & Poulner Toad Patrol, a group of volunteers who help escort toads safely across the roads of Gorley, said: “Toads are an endangered species and the journey they embark on is often very dangerous. By helping them overcome manmade obstacles such as roads, we are doing our bit in securing the next generation of these highly vulnerable animals.”
The Ringwood & Poulner patrol concentrates on helping toads cross Gorley Road in Poulner to and from the Blashford Lakes. The aim is to have a team of volunteer patrollers on the ground every night from dusk.
Mrs Baker continued: “The toads start crossing when the temperature stays above 5 degrees from dusk and with the winter we’ve been having so far they could start soon. This area is renowned for its toad population but in order to help as many toads cross safely as possible we need more volunteers. If anyone has a couple of hours per week to spare and could help out that would be wonderful, please ring me on 01425 478891. If people are interested in nature conservation and want to make a difference locally, please join the patrol, it is very rewarding indeed.”
- Ringwood & Poulner Toad Patrol is registered with wildlife charity Froglife. The charity coordinates toad patrolling throughout the UK through a national campaign called ‘Toads on Roads’. Over the coming months, one thousand volunteers will be carrying thousands of toads across the UK’s roads, in a coordinated effort to help save the iconic animal from further declines. For more information please visit www.froglife.org/toads-on-roads/
A new study led by Froglife, together with experts from Switzerland has shown how the efforts of ordinary members of the public are identifying big declines in our native amphibians.
Every year thousands of volunteers in the UK, working as part of Froglife’s ‘Toads on Roads’ patrols, help save amphibians as they migrate to their breeding ponds across busy roads. Toads are particularly vulnerable and over 800,000 are carried to safety by volunteers each year in the UK and Switzerland.
Froglife’s conservation scientists teamed up with Swiss counterparts to analyse millions of records of common toads (scientific name Bufo bufo) collected by these patrols over more than three decades from the two countries. Unfortunately, despite the effort of the volunteers, the researchers show that our toads have undergone huge declines.
On average common toads have declined by 68% over the last 30 years in the UK. In some areas, such as the south east of England, declines have been even more pronounced.
The team’s results, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161943), show that toads have declined rapidly and continuously since the 1980s in both countries. It is likely that hundreds of thousands of toads have disappeared from the countryside in the past 30 years.
In the UK, south east England suffered the worst declines while in the west (including Wales, south west and west England) populations also declined but have remained stable for the past decade. The North, including northern counties and Scotland, has also seen significant toad declines in the past 20 years.
It is not clear what has caused numbers of toads to drop so dramatically but likely causes are a combination of changes to farming practices, loss of ponds, an increase in urbanisation and more deaths on roads as traffic values have increased. Climate change could also be a factor as research has shown that milder winters are detrimental for hibernating toads.
Dr. Silviu Petrovan, Conservation Coordinator at Froglife and one of the authors of the study said:
“Toad declines at this scale over such large areas are really worrying. Toads are extremely adaptable and can live in many places ranging from farmland and woodland to suburban gardens. They are also important pest controllers eating slugs, snails and insects and are food themselves for many of our most likeable mammals such as otters and polecats. Without the efforts of the thousands of volunteers that go out and move amphibians across busy roads we would have no idea that these declines had occurred and the situation could be much worse. One thing that is clear is that we need to do more to look after our environment in order to protect the species that depend on it.”
Paul Edgar, The Senior Amphibian and Reptile Specialist from Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England and who have funded Froglife on road mitigation research, said:
“This paper highlights a number of important issues for our native amphibians and conservation more generally in the UK. The common toad is sadly on a downward trend. This is partly because of habitat fragmentation, and so understanding and mitigating the impacts of this issue is vital. We need to continue to build good quality habitat links across the wider landscape if we are to offer opportunities for this species to recover. We’re working hard to do this through measures such as Countryside Stewardship in the rural setting, and ensuring good quality Green Infrastructure is included in new developments. This paper reinforces the vital positive role that the public play in both protecting and recording data about our wildlife. We need to build on this engagement to further help us collaboratively reverse these declines as a matter of urgency.”