Letter: Toadmorden says thanks

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In response to the article in the Todmorden News on the 23 March re ‘Saving the toads of Toadmorden and due to the response and interest shown by many of the people of Todmorden, the Todmorden Toad Rescue Group would like to first offer their thanks to all those who helped, as the toads, and to a lesser degree frogs and newts, made the perilous journey to their ancestral breeding ponds.

It has been a very testing time, particularly for the four sites directly affected by the closure of Shaw Wood Road where traffic has trebled causing not only problems for motorists but has also played havoc with our amphibious friends, and despite the best efforts of the patrols, recorded casualties have been much higher than usual.

In response to concerns not only for the toads but for the rescuers themselves, Todmorden council, at the eleventh hour, put out new large toad warning signs in the worst affected areas in an effort to persuade motorists to slow down giving them a better opportunity to notice in their headlights, the small items of debris and perhaps dried leaves being blown slowly across the road because for some of the time, they might not have been quite what they seem.

It’s not all been doom and gloom because there have been many instances recorded of motorists going way beyond the call of duty when they have stopped their vehicles and held up traffic in both directions, while they removed a toad or sometimes toads that were sat in the middle of the road seemingly without a care in the world, blinking into the cars headlights and wondering what all the fuss was about.

The answer to the question, ‘’Why did the toad cross the road’’ is not as obvious as it may seem because toads find roads much to their liking and not only cross them but use them in the same way as we do, finding it a much easier way of accessing their breeding ponds; and this is why, when conditions are right, they move in their hundreds, and in some parts of the country, sometimes in their thousands and it is then that groups of volunteers like the Todmorden Toad Rescue Group swing into action.

One question the patrols have been regularly asked is ‘how many have you got’ and people are usually surprised at the numbers saved and equally shocked when they are told how many have been killed during the time the patrols have been in operation.

The 8 sites operating in Todmorden collectively recorded a total of 2449 toads saved, with 228 frogs and 31 newts, but despite their best efforts, still recorded 252 casualties which is a terribly sad loss of life.

So once again, thanks to all those who helped, to those who stopped and asked questions, many of whom have promised help in the future, and particularly the many motorists who showed patience by slowing down and allowing the patrol’s to do their job.

The season is now over for another year. Toads, many with our help have made their way to their respective ponds and have fulfilled their maternal instincts for another year and they will soon be making their way back into the countryside to do whatever toads do for much of the summer, only to again, next spring, being driven by the urge to reproduce, will set off on their perilous migration and the whole process will start all over again.