Brittany town permanently closes road so toads and frogs can cross

Eleven threatened species of amphibians have been identified in the area and cross to reach nearby ponds to mate

1 December 2021

A frog in a pond Pic: Zsolyomi / Shutterstock

By Oliwia Geisler

A town in Brittany has made the decision to permanently close part of a road in order to protect the amphibian species that cross it during their migration period.

The route départementale 28 (RD28) road is on the outskirts of an area named Les Landes de la Poterie, which is known for its rich biodiversity and 11 protected amphibian species, including toads, frogs and newts. 

It is also classified as ‘Natura 2000’ - a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species.

Animals must cross the RD28 during their migration period to reach the ponds where they breed, resulting in a high mortality rate.

The decision to close part of the road was announced in a public meeting by local representatives of Lamballe-Armor on Thursday (November 25).

Rozenn Guillard, environmental technician for local environmental community Lamballe Terre & Mer, explained that the decision has been made “to protect the amphibians that cross the road to go and reproduce”.

"We have amphibian species in the area that are protected, and as these populations are in the process of declining, we have a duty to protect them," she added.

While some residents were “very happy” with the decision and what it means for local biodiversity, there are also locals “who took less favourably to the news and are worried about their daily journey”, Mrs Guillard said.

However, Mrs Guillard noted that “the majority is rather happy”.

Several actions to protect amphibians had been implemented in the area since 2016, including temporary closure of parts of the RD28 and installing temporary protection devices in the form of toadstools, which over three winters have saved more than 4,000 animals.

However, this year it was decided that these were not enough.

Lamballe-Armor is not the only town in France working to protect its biodiversity from vehicles.

The department of Lot recently installed two aerial walkways in Cajarc and Saint-Géry-Vers, to allow red squirrels to cross between trees and protect them from getting hit by cars.

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