Hop to it plea for toad patrol volunteers

Matt Carr from Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, part of the Toad Patrol.
Matt Carr from Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, part of the Toad Patrol.

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is seeking volunteers to help toads hop across the road to safety.

When they come out of hibernation, instinct drives thousands of natterjack and common toads to head back to their ancestral breeding ponds.

Toads in their natural habitat.

Toads in their natural habitat.

Following the same route brings them into conflict with manmade obstacles and main roads, leaving an estimated 20 tons of toads run over by British traffic every year.

The toll would be far greater were it not for organisations like ‘Froglife’, a UK based charity committed to the conservation of native amphibian and reptiles (frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards) and their habitats.

Their ‘Toads on Roads’ project sets up Toad Patrols: volunteers from the local community who help these important creatures hop to safety.

Each migratory crossing site is managed by a patrol manager, and Matt Carr, one of the Oasis keepers, is this year’s patrol manager for two local sites – Silverdale and Stainton Lane.

Starting late January / early February, the zoo will be collecting Toad Patrol volunteers who are willing to travel to either site and help toads cross the roads safely during the breeding season.

The toads cross on damp evenings from mid-February, typically when the weather warms to above five degrees.

Zoo manager Jack Williams said: “This a brilliant way to really make a difference to local wildlife conservation. Even volunteering for just one night helps. “

See ‘Toads on Roads’ stand at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis on Saturdays or ask any member of staff for information, open seven days a week, 10am till 5pm. Visit www.wildlifeoasis.co.uk or look on Facebook.