The toad tunnels built in Zeekoevlei earlier this year sparked excitement in the conservation and general community. When the Western Leopard Toad breeding season arrived in early August, the question that we pondered the most was “will it work?”
Louise Baldwin (Nature Connect Species Project Manager), Jamy Fredericks (Nature Connect Species Project Assistant), Gasan Moses, Anda Rweqana and Darren Hare (Zandvlei Nature Reserve Students) started patrolling the toad tunnels on a nightly basis from 7 August 2021 to 15 September 2021. We recorded the size, sex and location of each Western Leopard Toads we came across. For additional information, we observed the behavioural interaction the toads had with the barriers and the tunnels. Our observations ultimately lead us to change the barriers from netting to heavy duty drop sheets.
Though the breeding season was not as active as prior years, 14 toads were seen independently entering from Zeekoevlei and exiting to Rondevlei, bearing in mind that camera traps could not safely be set up to capture any other movement without the presence of a patroller. We therefore believe that they were moving through them during the hours we could not be on site.
The overall consensus are that the tunnels work in combination with the funnelling effects of the barriers. The best news is that no road mortalities were recorded in the section where the barriers were set up!