20 Mar Oxford Toad Patrol
Laura Grant from BSG Ecology’s Oxford office noted a number of toad casualties on roads when she moved to the New Hinksey area of Oxford. Last year she trawled the streets in spring on mild damp evenings to move toads, frogs and smooth newts to the breeding lake out of harm’s way. This year she registered the streets around New Hinksey Lake on the Froglife Toads and Roads project (site 575) to raise awareness and engage local people in protecting the local amphibian population. She posted fliers through doors of many local residents encouraging local drivers to be more aware of amphibians on mild nights in spring and letting people know how they can get involved. There are several active members of the Oxford Toad Patrol and you can find out more information via the Facebook: Oxford Toad Patrol or Twitter @OxfordToads accounts.
Patrol members are also taking part in the Amphibian and Reptiles Group of the UK (ARG UK) project to measure male toads they encounter as part of the ‘Toadsize 2014’. The project aims to investigate the impact of road mortality on toad populations, and how that is affected by toad patrolling. This is achieved by measuring male toads on their way to their breeding ponds. In 2013 the study showed that at the sites tested the most important factors were frequency of patrol and distance from breeding ponds.
Laura was interviewed live on BBC Oxford radio on Friday 7th March 2014 and appeared in an article in the Oxford Mail on Wednesday 12th March 2014.