The Landmark ecologists are out volunteering again, this time with the Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group (ARAG), helping to rescue toads from the path of vehicles on roads during their annual migration to their ancestral breeding ponds.
At this time of year, toads and other amphibians emerge from hibernation and make their way back to their breeding ponds. Unfortunately, large numbers of toads are killed on roads each year whilst making this journey. A recent study has investigated the role of road traffic in the dramatic drop in numbers of common toads at three ponds in Cambridgeshire. The study concluded that unsustainable road mortality was likely to be the main reason for the declines and near extinctions of toad populations centred on those ponds (Cooke, 2011).
Toad Patrols have been set up across the country at known migration areas where volunteers help the toads cross the roads safely to their breeding pond. You may have seen us on Ridgeway Road in Fishponds, Bristol and at Chew Valley Lake, just south of Chew Stoke. We are the people patrolling the road verges at dusk, armed with buckets, high visibility jackets and torches!
If you think you could spare a few hours in the evening to help these warty but nonetheless charming animals then check the Froglife website to see if there is a patrol near you.