Common toads have declined by 68% over the last 30 years, chiefly due to loss of habitat and crossing dangerous roads during migration to their breeding ponds or lakes. Thirty Herefordshire residents, concerned by the numbers of motorists unable to avoid the hundreds of toads crossing their roads on spring evenings, volunteered with the wildlife trust and a local youth group to form toad patrols.
“The toad patrols are now run by the local community, self-sufficient with volunteer numbers increasing each year.”
They carried toads across roads in buckets, set up ladders to rescue toads from drains and worked with local school children to produce temporary toad crossing signs encouraging motorists to slow down. Schoolchildren also learnt about a toad’s lifecycle and made log piles ‘toad halls’ to help the rare animals hibernate without crossing roads. These efforts saw toad numbers quadruple over three years.
To raise awareness of declining toad numbers the volunteers hosted events, contacted the media and created online training and resources alongside a film to help other groups set up toad patrols. They also developed skills in identifying and monitoring toads to update a national citizen science survey.