Froglife, a wildlife conservation charity has received a confirmed grant of £38,800, made possible by National Lottery players, to develop its London T.O.A.D project, it was announced today. The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will enable Froglife to undertake a six month development phase. During these six months Froglife will be planning an extensive range of activities to benefit the UK’s beleaguered common toads.
In 2016 Froglife worked in partnership with the University of Zurich to analyse its 30+ year Toads on Roads database. The findings from this research concluded that the UK’s common toads have declined by 68% over the 30 year period. It is known that year-on-year mortality of toads crossing roads to reach their breeding sites does eventually lead to the extinction of the population. Froglife coordinates the toads on roads patrols, these are volunteers who go out on spring evenings and help toads across busy roads. The dedication from these volunteers is of enormous help to our toad populations. However, in cities such as London, where the volume of traffic is such that it is not feasible to patrol roads, alternative systems are essential.
Being a very pro-active organisation Froglife immediately put in place an action plan to help secure the future of our common toads. This London project forms part of the action plan. The project will be working on six large wildlife sites in London creating networks of habitats suitable for toads. It will also be visiting toad patrol sites to select sites to benefit from infrastructure such as wildlife tunnels. Froglife is currently monitoring numerous wildlife tunnels of different designs using 24 hour cameras, the early results are showing that wildlife tunnels are well-used and not only by the wildlife that they are designed for.
Froglife wants as many people as possible to get involved in its work and in order to encourage wide engagement in toad conservation Froglife will be delivering activities such as the creation of a Mapestry (tapestry reflecting the heritage items of London), T.O.A.D wildlife gardening workshops, T.O.A.D. Tails – an activity delivered in schools, Swimming with T.O.A.Ds – converting swimming pools into toad ponds and T.O.A.D. Shows, where a Froglife Pond Doctor will provide households with wildlife gardening tips.
Kathy Wormald, Froglife CEO, said: “We are very grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund for this grant. It will provide Froglife with an excellent opportunity to inspire local communities in London about their common toad populations and their intriguing lives, whilst also introducing people to the many local green spaces on our doorsteps that can be enjoyed by all. We’ll be hosting some exceptionally creative activities alongside much needed habitat creation and restoration work.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “Whilst the age-old question might concern chickens, we are delighted that National Lottery players are able to support Froglife in helping London’s toads cross the road. This project has the potential to celebrate the humble toad, their habitats, and the important role they play in our environment. The project will also allow volunteers a toad-ally exciting opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We look forward to seeing the final proposals in due course”.