The Nature Connect team and William Dau Civils contractors have begun their work on Peninsula Road in Zeekoevlei. They will be installing an additional three toad tunnels over the next few weeks. These tunnels are designed to assist the endangered Western Leopard Toad (Sclerophrys pantherina) to pass under the road and avoid being hit by cars. The area around Peninsula Road has been particularly hazardous for these toads as they cross the road during their breeding season in the winter rainy months.

In 2021, the installation of the first two tunnels proved to be an overwhelming success, as volunteers spotted the toads making use of the tunnels on several occasions. In fact, after the first season with the new tunnels, there was a clear decrease in road deaths in that section of Peninsula Road, which is why the project was allocated additional funding.

The Western Leopard Toad is a critically endangered species listed on the IUCN Redlist. It is found only in the Western Cape region of South Africa. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 3,824 km², and its area of occupancy (AOO) of 405 km² is being continually reduced by ongoing development and habitat loss. Over the last 20 years, toad populations have undergone drastic declines from urban areas where they were once abundant. The populations are now considered to be severely fragmented and the distances between subpopulations are is too great for dispersal within one generation. Over 50% of the subpopulations are considered non-viable without ongoing conservation efforts.

Photos by Jeremy Shelton. More info:

Thanks to the funding provided by The Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Leisure Charitable Trust, Nature Connect is completing the Western Leopard Toad Underpass Project in Peninsula Road – the first of its kind in South Africa. This pioneering initiative will enable the safe passage of not just the Western Leopard Toad but also other fauna, thus serving the greater good.

These amphibian underpass tunnels serve as an example of how humans are trying to work in harmony with nature to reduce species loss. It is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future for all, where people can coexist with nature.

Fun Facts about the Western Leopard Toad:

Continue Reading

Leave A Comment