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Ringwood and Poulner Toad Patrol seeks helpers to help amphibians reach Blashford Lakes near Ringwood breed





A TOAD crossing patrol is seeking volunteers to help the amphibians safely migrate to their breeding ground.

In January, the local toad population begins its perilous journey to Blashford Lakes to breed and lay eggs, and the Ringwood and Poulner Toad Patrol will be on hand to ensure they get across unscathed.

Registered with the wildlife charity Froglife, which coordinates toad patrolling throughout the UK, the team is looking for new volunteers to assist.

Common toads cross busy roads to get to breeding sites
Common toads cross busy roads to get to breeding sites

Drivers are also being asked to slow down and be patient.

Set up in 1989 by wildlife supporter Teresa Baker, the patrol is now run by Nicola Yorke – a volunteer since the 2021 season.

“It’s a great honour to have been asked by Teresa to take over our friendly, inclusive group and carry on her great work,” said Nicola.

Ringwood and Poulner Toad Patrol ensures the amphibians cross the road safely
Ringwood and Poulner Toad Patrol ensures the amphibians cross the road safely

“Common toads are declining across the UK and face huge dangers as they crawl across busy roads. We’re always looking for more willing volunteers who can spare a couple of hours one evening a week.

“And we’d be really grateful if more drivers slowed down and kept an eye out for toads on the short stretch of road we patrol from the North Poulner crossroads up to Rockford Common. It would make an enormous difference and many more precious lives would be saved.”

At the start of the breeding season in mid- to late-January, male and female toads crawl down from the wooded hills above Blashford Lakes to find a mate and breed.

By early Spring after their eggs are laid, they make the return journey, once again facing the dangers of the busy road.

“Toads only move when it’s warm enough – five degrees and above,” continued Nicola. “Wet nights are perfect but they’ll also cross when it’s not raining.

“As soon as the breeding season starts, our volunteers take turns to drive slowly along the road from dusk until 11pm, stopping to pick up toads and carry them across the road so they can safely continue their journey down to the water.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should email rptoadpatrol1@gmail.com



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