And the survey says… protect the Western Toads (and other species at risk)!
In 2013, A Rocha Canada’s Conservation team was informed by a local landowner that a population of Western Toads resided in ponds located only 1.5 km away from the Brooksdale Environmental Centre.
Since then, the conservation team has been studying and monitoring the population of toads and their migration annually. When the tadpoles metamorphose and emerge out of the ponds as tiny toadlets, they do so in a mass of thousands and disperse into the forest (and later return to their natal breeding pond to mate and deposit egg masses). This migration makes them unique but also vulnerable to high numbers of mortality when crossing roads and trails with human traffic.
Western Toad Quick Facts:
- Western Toads (Anaxyrus boreas) were designated as a species of special concern by COSEWIC and is listed under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act
- The range of the Western Toad in Canada spans from BC, western Alberta, south east Yukon, and south western Northwest Territories
- The main threats are habitat loss/fragmentation, road mortality, competition with invasive species, chytrid fungus, pollution and climate change
After monitoring the population for 6 years, the conservation team observed massive mortality on the roads surrounding the breeding population in South Surrey. Similar trends have been observed in ponds located in Langley, Chilliwack, Whistler, etc.
A Rocha Canada’s goal for the Western Toad is to try to conserve the breeding population.
To address the largest current threat of road mortality, this summer the conservation team built a fence to help funnel the toads safely underneath heavy traffic road to allow them to disperse into the forest on the other side.