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Cranwich toadwatch the tops

Toad watch patrollers at Cranwich ANL-140303-092340001

Toad watch patrollers at Cranwich ANL-140303-092340001

The Cranwich toad watch patrol on the A134 has earned number one position on a league table of toad crossings.

Last year more than 9,000 toads were helped across the road, and so far this year 1,500 toads have been rescued by the toad watch volunteers.

With the help of the Forestry Commission and Norfolk County Council a large section of verge has been fenced to keep the toads off the road until help can arrive to move them safely on their way.

Part of the stretch has also been designated as a roadside nature reserve by Norfolk County Council, with extra hibernating habitat being constructed.

David Harrison, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Development and Waste, said: “At this time of year the sight of toads run over on our roads is all too familiar. The volunteers are doing a tremendous job, but they cannot be everywhere.

“There are many other roads where toads and frogs are a common sight at night in the spring, and I would ask drivers to keep a look out for them, especially when it is wet and mild, and avoid them if they can.”

The toad is a priority species for conservation in the UK as it has experienced a serious decline among many populations in recent decades.

Toads are a protected species, making it a requirement of public bodies to consider toads along with all biodiversity when performing any of their functions.

The temporary fencing work is the beginning of a project to find a more permanent solution to helping the toads across the road, such as a tunnel or underpass to connect the toads with their spawning ground.

The toads at Cranwich spend winter hibernating in Thetford Forest before emerging in spring to make the long journey back to the restored gravel pits where they hatched.

The toad watch patrollers also rescue wandering toads from the road, and ask motorists to slow down when they see the Toad Crossing road signs or volunteers out in high visibility jackets at night.

Visit www.froglife.org for more details about setting up a toad patrol.

 

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