Volunteers are well on their way to rescuing over 40,000 toads from death on the UK’s roads, setting a new record.
The action is being coordinated to highlight to planners and highways authorities that roads need to be made more amphibian-friendly, to stop toads from undergoing further local extinctions in the UK.
With the sudden arrival of the milder spring conditions, toads in many parts of the country are midway through their seasonal migrations to breeding ponds. At many sites, these migrations occur across busy roads and thousands of toads become victims of road traffic. A national network of volunteer ‘toad patrollers’ exists to help toads across designated roads, armed with torches and buckets.
This network of over a thousand volunteers rescued 34,970 toads last spring – the equivalent of a line of toads the length of 550 London buses.
The volunteers are coordinated through Toads on Roads, a campaign run by the charity Froglife. 758 toad-crossing points have been registered with the charity.
“These volunteer toad patrollers are incredibly committed and some volunteers have been out on spring nights saving toads for almost 25 years.” said Lucy Benyon, Froglife's Toads on Roads coordinator.
“This spring, we’re keen to break the 40,000 toad-mark, partly as a symbolic gesture to show planners and highways authorities that this is a serious issue for wildlife conservation, and that this issue isn’t going away without their taking notice.”
The common toad Bufo bufo has experienced declines in parts of the UK, in some cases caused by the effect of road traffic. In 2007, the common toad was added to the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) priority species list.
To find your nearest registered toad crossing, visit: www.froglife.org/toadsonroads