Spring into action to protect frogs

Three-month campaign aims to cut the number of frog deaths as they come out of hibernation

9 March 2015

PARKS, forest and nature reserves across France are organising a series of special events this spring to help protect frogs and other amphibians as they come out of hibernation.

The Fréquence Grenouille operation is 20 years old this year and more than 500 events are taking place to explain the dangers faced by frogs and other amphibians as they travel for mating season.

It has the backing of the French ecology ministry, all of the country's water agencies and the body representing nature reserves.

Activities from now until May 31 include frog and toad counts, projects to build safe passages under busy roads (called crapauducs), and other educational events and conferences.

At about this time of year, thousands of frogs, toads and other amphibians come out of hibernation to make the same treacherous - and often fatal - journey across busy French roads in order to reproduce.

Some forest roads in protected areas are closed to traffic at night. In other areas, volunteers set up nets and other traps to collect frogs, which are checked daily and the animals delivered safely to nearby ponds.

Although cars account for a third of amphibian fatalities every year, they are not the only threat to France’s indigenous amphibian population. Wetland habitats are being drained, which is contributing to a rapid decline in numbers.

Organisers of Fréquence Grenouille say two-thirds of wetlands in France have disappeared since the start of the 20th century - and the number of safe habitats for amphibians is declining by an estimated 10,000 hectares pear year.

This means increased pressure to protect the remaining areas where the creatures can safely thrive. More details can be found online here.

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