Toads threatened with extinction

TOADS in Suffolk are today under threat of extinction, a survey has revealed.But members of a group in Ipswich who look after the creatures say they can be saved if people just become more aware of the situation.

TOADS in Suffolk are today under threat of extinction, a survey has revealed.

But members of a group in Ipswich who look after the creatures say they can be saved if people just become more aware of the situation.

The survey, conducted by English Nature, tested population rates of the common toad in various places across England.

Findings showed that the common toad was in decline in Suffolk as well as other places in the south east of England.

Jim Foster, amphibian specialist at English Nature, said: "The name of the toad suggests they are quite common but this report challenges that view.

"The survey revealed that within certain places in the south east of England there are some populations that are in decline and some close to becoming extinct - this includes Suffolk."

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Mr Foster said it was not possible to say exactly how many of the common toads were left or how long it would be before they became extinct if nothing is done to save them.

But he did say one of the reasons for their decline could be due to the growing number of cars on the roads.

He said: "With an ever increasing volume of traffic on the roads in these areas this could be one explanation.

"Other reasons are that many wildlife areas have been tidied up leaving toads no where to hide within their habitat or that new developments have been put up which take away the toad's habitat altogether."

Friends of Holywells Park are a hands-on group for the welfare of toads in Ipswich.

In May members opened a tunnel under Cliff Lane so toads could cross the road safely.

Before the tunnel opened members from the group had ferried toads across in buckets.

Julian Dowding, secretary of Friends of Holywells Park, said: "The population of toads crossing Cliff Lane had becoming dangerously low because of the housing development. These toads lost their habitat but we are trying to provide them with a new, more suitable site."

The group have erected safe areas in Landseer and Holywells Park called hibernacular sites.

They hope these sites can help towards saving the common toad in this area.

Mr Dowding said: "We are all connected to each other in some way and if we loose species without worrying about it I believe it will come back to kick us in the teeth.

"People still need to be taught about what is happening to them so we can save them. For example, many toads die from eating poisoned slugs and snails so people should be encouraged to garden organically."

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