Basingstoke and Deane Council, Biodiversity Loss, Built Environment, Environmentalism, Local Planning, Nature, Sustainability, Toad Rage, Wildlife

Toad Rage 3 – Mid-March Update by Paul Sterry

Common Toad - Bufo bufo - mating pair in amplexus found at a notorious migration crossing point on a busy country lane during the breeding migration period in early spring.

This Toad Rage update is posted following one of the busiest nights of the year, and one where we had some welcome guests.

One way or another it’s been an eventful week on the Cufaude Lane Toad front. Just one mouthful of abuse from a passing motorist in the last seven days: that’s a record. And a stern lecture from a van-driver about the foolishness (not quite his words) of pedestrians (even hi-vizzed, torch-bearing ones) walking on country lanes after dark. On a conservation-orientated note there has been an increase in numbers of volunteers this week, the result being a dramatic decrease in the numbers of amphibians being killed compared to those rescued. Surely that must send a clear nationwide message that extra volunteer numbers – even a handful – at Toad Crossing sites throughout the UK truly make a difference.

On her own initiative, one of the volunteers (a considerate lady called Janet) contacted a local business park, asking drivers to slow down and ‘be aware’ of helpers on the toad ‘killing zone’ stretch of Cufaude Lane. That has made a real difference and demonstrates that social media, and communication generally, can be powerful tools in the fight for conservation. Figures for the past week are: Common Toads 254 saved, 37 dead; Common Frogs 19 saved, 7 dead; Smooth Newts 57 saved, 16 dead.

One of the volunteers has been posting information about Cufaude Lane’s Toads to local groups online. Interestingly, on the devices I have looked at Facebook has chosen to overlay one image with an ‘opt-out’ blur displaying the following message: ‘This photo may contain violent or graphic content’.  It certainly does but that’s what the Toad Patrollers see every night. Here’s an uncensored version:

Use picture 1 here. Caption = Unlucky in love: a squashed pair of Common Toads in amplexus. Credit Rob

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