An update from day one of the Western Leopard Toad (WLT) Roadkill Mitigation Project

frog wlt

A joint project between the Wildlife and Transport Programme (WTP), the Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) and the South Peninsula Outstanding Toad Savers (SPOTS).

Alison Faraday, the co-ordinator of SPOTS gives us a really exciting commentary of her first day in the field – setting up the fences, and then obtaining some great results already.

“What an exhausting day we had yesterday! I met the team at 9.30 am and waited anxiously for my wooden stakes to be delivered. In the meantime the team got to work on digging the trench. It took six guys, two advisory men and myself a full day to erect the barrier for 400 m of the 500 m stretch that we need.

Last night we saw the immediate effects of the barrier. During the night-time patrols, we found two dead male WLTs on the stretch of road that was not protected. However, behind our barrier we found three male WLTs, one female WLT and one amplexus (mating) pair – a sure result that the barrier is working.

We decided not to leave the barrier open overnight and, instead, check the buckets at midnight and then again at 5.30 am. This morning we found three males waiting at the barrier.

Parts of the verge are neatly mown which makes finding the toads much easier, although some parts of the verge are heavily vegetated, which makes spotting the toads waiting at the fence line almost impossible. We are sinking additional buckets this morning in these areas. And will request that the Council mow these stretches before the 2014 breeding migration.

I can honestly say that the 3 hours of patrol last night were the singularly best and most peaceful patrols I have ever had – we even had time to stop and listen to the beautiful snoring calls coming from the ponds.”

Thank you once again for the help and support – wish you could be here to see the turn around this barrier has created.”

We look forward to hearing more from Alison over the next few weeks!

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About wendy collinson

Originally hailing from the UK, Wendy gained her Bachelor of Education in 1990, and spent 15 years teaching Physical Education in London to high school students. She moved to South Africa in 2005, beginning work as a research assistant with large carnivores, working on research projects initiated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Wendy’s education background has stood her in good stead as a tour guide, since she believes in an interactive approach, engaging guests in specialist carnivore research tours. In addition to her research and tours, Wendy is also the main organiser of the aptly named “BIKE4BEASTS” mountain bike race, organised annually to raise funds for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (www.bike4beast.coza) Wendy is a field worker with the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife and Transport Programme. She recently completed her Master’s degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown South Africa, which examined the impacts of roads on South African wildlife.
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