Goodbye Mr Toad? Locals urged to keep eyes peeled to protect our hopping friends

    A sign of things to come? A toad warning in Wales

    ENVIRONMENTAL activists are asking the people of Tonbridge to report sightings of toads, so that special road crossings can be set up for them.

    At this time of year, toads are thinking about romance. Or, at least, their version of it. From February to early April, toads start their annual migration to their ancestral spawning grounds to mate and lay their eggs.

    The trouble is, all too often, this brings them slap bang into conflict with the twenty first century.

    Toads always spawn in the same place but increasing traffic means a huge number are killed each year.

    Over the last 30 years, common toad numbers have fallen by 68 per cent, with the sharpest decline in the South East.

    This is why Tonbridge and Malling Friends of the Earth have teamed up with the Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group [KRAG] to set up toad patrols to help them cross the road safely.

    This can involve anything from installing signs to volunteers directing traffic around the toads or even closing roads entirely during the migration season.

    Anthony Bales, coordinator of Tonbridge and Malling Friends of the Earth said: “We need people to report sightings and help us take them across roads once migration routes have been confirmed.

    “Toads and other amphibians such as frogs and newts are under threat for a number of reasons such as habitat loss, death on the roads and climate change.

    “For that reason, toads are now designated a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species so we are helping to build a picture of their number and where they live.”

    So far there have been sightings in the Waveney Road and Darenth Avenue area. Although the migration route is yet to be confirmed, it is thought that their destination might be the pond near Coblands Nurseries in Trench Road.