Toad in the road project.

20th April 2013
Recently i have been working with the Kent Wildlife Trust on a number of their sites. One of the most interesting sites was Bough Beech which is located just outside of Sevenoaks. This reserve is a vital eco system for native amphibians in the area with common toads, frogs, and rare newts which are protected by European law.

I met the centre manager Peter Bassett who would be leading patrols in the evenings during the breeding seasons outside the reserve, the reason for this was due to the amphibians crossing the road to get to their breeding grounds.

As you can imagine the issues they face would be motorists passing by during the night and unfortunately for the toads, frogs and newts they would find themselves flattened by cars.

I wanted to create a photography documentary showing the work that people do to help secure the future of our native wildlife. One issue that did surprise me was that there was no signs up in the road to warn motorists of the amphibians crossing the road, the council had been notified of the population in the area but still nothing has been done to at least warn people. I am hoping that this project will highlight what people are doing to help the toads so that the local council may at least issue a movable sign for the trust to put up during the breeding season.

Weather has proved to be a issue as the cold weather had slowed the movement by 3 weeks, another issues which i found interesting was how the amphibians ended up in the drains especially if we was having prolonged periods of rain. They would be washed into the drains and finding themselves not able to get out, drain rescues were quiet common and more noticeably was the amount of Smooth and Great Crested Newts found stuck in the drainage systems.

During the dates from the 6th of March until the 11th the total of amphibians saved can be seen below.
Toads 109
Frogs 19
G C Newts 26
Smooth Newts 19

We then attended dates from the 9th of April up to the 15th with the total again below.
Toads 192
G C Newts 17
Frogs 4
Smooth Newts 5

The total of road kill found can be seen below.
Toads 17
Frogs 9
G C Newts 5
Smooth Newts 4

The work undertaken by Peter and the people volunteering to help was vital in helping the local populations, amphibians are declining badly throughout the planet so making more people aware of these issues are paramount. I can also say that I had a really fun experience helping save the toads but more than anything it was very rewarding, lets hope that people will continue to help wardens like Peter protect our local wildlife.