Toads may once have been so common that they gave Jerseymen the nickname "Crapauds" but now they're so threatened that Jersey’s Environment department is urging Islanders not to disturb their spawning areas.
The department say that local biodiversity is under threat from the spread of non-native invasive species, and has urged people not to move frogs, toads, spawn or tadpoles to other ponds where they might not survive.
A lethal fungus called Chytridiomycosis has already wiped out a third of amphibians worldwide and although thankfully Jersey doesn’t have it, the department wants to prevent the spread of any diseases.
The Environment department’s Natural Environment Officer Tim Liddiard said: “We’d really like people’s help in our efforts to protect local wildlife. Firstly, we should leave our wildlife where it is and let nature do the rest. There is no such thing as too much spawn! Spawn is produced in large quantities because the mortality rate is very high.
“We’d also like to raise awareness around the good environmental practice of not introducing potentially invasive species into our countryside. For example, please don’t bring plants or seeds back from other countries which may escape the confines of the garden. Serious long term ecological implications can be caused by accidentally introducing invasive species into the wider environment and this can be alleviated by following recommended waste disposal regulations.”
Durrell’s Rick Jones said that a survey back in 2001 showed that the Island’s frogs were on the brink of extinction. Since then they’ve been working with the National Trust and the Environment department to increase numbers and maintain a healthy local population. But he's urging any Islanders who have soakaways to be careful not to throw away too many chemicals like bleach which could end up in nearby ponds.
The Environment department is also warning Islanders not to abandon animals where they shouldn’t. Their officers recently found goldfish in one of the few Island ponds used by the native agile frog for breeding. It was a seasonal pond and when it dried up, the fish would have died of exposure.
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