September 18, 2009

Frog-Marching Toward Oblivion

HM Government takes another brave stand:

Global warming has led to a change in [British toads'] breeding and migrating patterns and this has forced the Department for Transport into a rethink on the rules which governing temporary road signs.

As the law stands councils can only put up "migratory toad crossing" signs between February and May.

But under the changes announced by the DfT these signs will go up in January giving the toad officially a "biodiversity priority species" an extra month's protection.

It is estimated that there are around eight million toads in Britain, rather fewer than there were just after the war.

The European Common Toad is found throughout the country, while the Natterjack is found in north west and southern England, according to John Wilkinson, research officer with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

"Because of changes in our climate they are breeding and migrating earlier in the year," Mr Wilkinson added.

Britain's toad population is under threat. "Toad mortality is very high on the roads. Once you used to see a flood of the creatures, now it is down to a trickle.

"They have also suffered because of a loss of habitat, a loss of woodland and the increased use of pesticides."

Earlier this year Froglife, a conservation charity, used Google Earth to map 700 toad crossings in Britain, in an attempt to cut amphibian mortality.

The changes to the sign regulations puzzled Edmund King, the AA's president.

"I suppose Mr Toad will have to be more vigilant for longer to make sure he doesn't squash little toads hopping across the road," he said.

"To be honest I have always wondered what drivers are supposed to do if they see amphibians in the road in front of them."

You know, it wasn't really all that many years ago that one could read an article like this, smile and mumble something about how there'll always be an England. Nowadays, what with free-falling native demographics, aggressive immigrant colonization and a near social and cultural bankruptcy? Not so much.

Ribbiting while Rome burns, I suppose one could say.

Posted by Robert at September 18, 2009 09:21 AM | TrackBack