Motorists Are Banned from the Road of the Toads

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID DERBYSHIRE

A PLAN which could prevent tens of thousands of amorous toads being killed on the roads begins today.

For the first time, an entire country lane is being closed to allow the amphibians to migrate to their breeding grounds in safety.

If the action is a success, it could lead to other car bans to help the threatened toads from a grisly demise under the wheels of cars.

Each springtime, around a million toads emerge from hibernation and set off in droves towards their preferred breeding grounds.

But there is a terrible carnage as about 300,000 of the toads are killed by vehicles. Others fall down roadside drains where they suffer a lingering death.

In many places, hundreds of volunteers help them across roads with buckets while some councils have built toad tunnels under roads.

But this year there is even more help at hand. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has won permission to shut a one-mile stretch of Bean-ford Lane in Oxton from this

morning until the end of the month. Nottinghamshire toad campaigner Margaret Cooper said: 'Around 1,000 cross in Oxton over a fortnight. But one third were squashed last year. They often cross on piggy back which makes it even more distressing. We are really thrilled to get the road closed.' If it is a success, other road closures could follow next year.

Froglife, a body which campaigns for amphibians, is urging motorists to keep an eye out for toads over the next few weeks.

Rona Gibb from Froglife said: 'The more interest we can generate in toads and helping with toad crossings, the greater the number of toads that can be saved.

'Cars may be required to slow down at crossings, but I'm sure drivers will be patient and sympathetic to the cause, and seeing the toads will be reward enough. …