Sunday, 9 October 2016

Toad numbers fall by two-thirds in 30 years

By Helen Briggs BBC News
6 October 2016

The common toad is in decline across much of the UK and needs better protection, say conservationists.

Data from toad patrols - volunteers who move toads across busy roads - shows the toad population has fallen by more than two-thirds since the 1980s.

Once common in the British countryside, the amphibian is now on the brink of qualifying for protection as a vulnerable species, a study suggests.

Factors in its loss include urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation.

Silviu Petrovan, from the UK charity Froglife, said the information came from Toads on Roads - volunteer patrols established in the early 1970s to move toads over busy roads.

"Our data shows that hundreds of thousands of toads have been lost from the UK countryside in the past 30 years," he said.

The south-east of England has suffered the greatest declines in the common toad (Bufo bufo), according to the research. 

Numbers have also fallen in Wales and the south-west and west of England in the past, but have stabilised in the last decade.

Central and northern areas of England as well as Scotland have also experienced declines.
In the east of England, numbers have recovered since 2005, but not enough to reverse previous losses.

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