SLIGHTLY delayed by the long winter, the annual migration of common toads (or European toads) from their winter forest habitat to the reservoir at Striebornica near Piešťany began on April 10. As in every year since 1988, volunteers will aid in the migration, helping the amphibians cross a heavily travelled road that stands between them and the reservoir. The event is organised by the civic association Živá planéta / Living Planet in cooperation with the administration of the Small Carpathians protected area, Pierre de Coubertin Secondary Grammar School and Slovak Scouting in Piešťany.
To begin with a 700-metre barrier is erected along the road to keep the frogs from crossing. Then every morning and evening during the migration, volunteers will carry the toads across the road to the water. “Volunteers will be to carry the frogs under the supervision of of our people,” Aurel Rusnák of the Živá planéta told the TASR newswire.” “On workdays, these are elementary school pupils. Others can help on weekends, when they have more time. Of course we welcome all volunteers but we ask them only to perform this task under supervision so we will be able to keep an accurate count of the toads.” Statistics in recent years indicate a decline in the number of frogs. Last year, there were about 1,000 toads; in previous years the totals were several times higher.
Rusnák explained: “The toads are collected in buckets along the roadblock then the females, males, mated animals are counted and the weather is noted. Then the toads are carried across the road and sets them free in the reservoir. Occasionally there are problems between male and female toads. Males are half the size of females and there are usually more of them, croaking loudly and trying to push potential rivals away with hind legs. Apart from common toads, common frogs, agile frogs, edible frogs, marsh frogs, and pool frogs can be found sometimes near the Striebornica reservoir.” By the end of April, the assisted migration of frogs should be finished.
29. Apr 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská