Western Leopard Toads about to get their annual hop on! (or, why did the toad cross the road?)

Bill Harding, DH

Today I had the privilege of meeting up with Alison Faraday of the community organisation TOAD NUTS (Noordhoek Unpaid Toad Savers) – a group of people who freely give up their time – at night – to seek out and shepherd Leopard Toads across dangerous highways in the Noordhoek/Kommetjie area of Cape Town. The adult toads are about to make their annual migration to their breeding ponds – enduring not only the hazards of roads and cars, but also dodgy water quality and the threat of their young being eaten by alien carp that dominate and decimate the pond environments. The toad is endangered and groups such as TOAD NUTS perform a laudable and selfless function to offset the impact of urbanisation on this amphibian.

TOAD NUTS have devised ingenious roadside fencing systems – which are lovingly and laboriously erected across the known migration routes – to ensure that Mr and Mrs Toad don’t become a ‘road kill’ statistic. Once the migration starts, the volunteers are there every night to collect the toads and ferry them across to the other side! The Leopard Toad has a website, a hotline and more! The website even includes a toad snore sound clip to help identify their presence. The City of Cape Town has a webpage on this beastie as well. http://www.leopardtoad.co.za/

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