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Page last updated at 07:08 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 08:08 UK
Charity to build ponds for toads
Toad
Froglife hopes to prevent toads risking death by crossing busy roads

How did the conservationists stop the toad from crossing the road? By building it a pond.

Froglife, the Peterborough wildlife charity which specialises in amphibians and reptiles, wants to hear from anyone living near a common toad crossing.

Its plan is to establish new ponds near the toads' crossings, to help build up populations and reduce road casualties.

"People are running them over in their thousands," explained Froglife's Sam Taylor.

So the charity has come up with the idea of building ponds near the toads' traditional breeding grounds, in a bid to lure them away from busy roads.

Faithful

"We are looking for places to help the common toad," Sam explained. "They are very faithful little animals, so they will always go back to the pond they were born in to breed.

"When it hits spring, they go to these ponds in their thousands. If there's a road in the way that can cause problems, because they tend to move at night, and they're not the biggest of animals and people are running them over."

At the moment Froglife has hundreds of volunteers around Britain who carry toads across the roads in buckets during the breeding season. In 2010, they rescued over 60,000 toads.

Bufo bufo

Cambridgeshire countryside
It is hoped that the toads will be lured to the new Bufo Buffer Ponds

In 2007, the common toad was added to the Government's Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) watchlist.

The common toad is also known as the Bufo bufo toad, and the warty little creature is the most widespread amphibian in Britain.

They congregate around ponds during the spring but then prefer to wander far away from the water once they have finished their propagating duties.

Dropped curbs

While common toad numbers are in decline around the country, in one area of Cambridge they are so prolific the city council is spending £2,500 installing dropped curbs to help them cross to their breeding grounds.

Burnside Allotments are situated off Perne Road, near the city's chalkpit lakes, and are a popular location for the toads.

Keith Jordan is one of the allotment holders and a wildlife enthusiast. He believes the toad population has probably been in this part of Cambridge for about a century.

As a keen vegetable grower, he also finds them useful.

"For organic gardeners they consume hundreds of thousands of insects, worms, small slugs, and ants. They do perform a really good organic control method on the allotments."

Bufo Buffer

The Peterborough-based national charity Froglife hopes its pond-building plan will help halt the general decline in common toads across Britain.

It is trialling the Bufo Buffer Ponds in the East of England.

Sam Taylor said: "We're really looking for sites so, when they get to that point when they're looking for their breeding ponds, they might find a new one on the way and not have to cross the road."

Landowners interested in having a toad-friendly pond built on their property need to be within one kilometre of a toad crossing.

For more information, visit Froglife's website:

Froglife's Bufo Buffer Ponds




SEE ALSO
Caution: Toads crossing
30 Mar 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Student Helps Toads Cross Roads
22 Mar 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
'Lollipop patrol' to save toads
18 Jan 10 |  Jersey
Biggest success for toad crossing
11 Apr 09 |  Somerset


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