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Migrating toads test out new tunnel

Small and naturally camouflaged, young toads migrating from Ryder Lake are perhaps most as risk from curious humans coming to see their relocation. - Greg Laychak
Small and naturally camouflaged, young toads migrating from Ryder Lake are perhaps most as risk from curious humans coming to see their relocation.
— image credit: Greg Laychak

Why did the toad cross the road?

For migrating toadlets in the Ryder Lake area such riddles are becoming less relevant.

The bulk of the little amphibians now have access to a tunnel that bypasses the asphalt where car tires literally squash their dreams of a forest home.

Last week the Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) toad tunnel was tested for the first migration since it was built last summer.

But even though the new project saves a lot of the transient hoppers, it can’t possibly funnel all the mini-toads to safety.

That means following the detour signs still matters if people are driving in Ryder Lake area during the migration, which includes at-risk Western Toad and Red Legged Tree Frog species.

“Most people think they will be able to see [the toads] and avoid them,” said Joanne Neilson executive director of the Fraser Valley Conservancy. “But they are so small and there are not huge numbers of them on the road so they are almost impossible to avoid.”

Those thumbnail-sized, camouflaged stragglers that aren’t caught by the fencing system are in danger of being flattened on the road if traffic is not diverted.

And this year, migration numbers already appeared much lower than usual according to the FVC.

Though social media can be a great educational tool for the organization, it didn’t help the situation this month.

The FVC tries to keep the toad movement quiet while it’s happening, but when word got out online about the migration more people went to witness the spectacle resulting in more toad deaths.

Neilson stressed the importance of using the detour routes and parking in a safe area if onlookers really feel they must see the toadlets.

However, she added that the FVC strongly discourages people from going up to the site at all during that time. They should check out the photos online instead, she said.

“While it may be disappointing for the people it is the best for the toads.”

 

 

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