The natterjack toad is not only the noisiest amphibian in Cumbria, but its rarest too. Alarmingly, populations of this charismatic pioneer species have declined by an estimated 70 to 80 per cent within the last 100 years. This three year project aims to reverse that decline in Cumbria – the county where half of the country’s natterjacks live. A case of helping to secure the stronghold. Natural England are supporting the project with a £92,000 grant spread over three years, as part of the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund. We need to raise £10,000 in matched funding for habitat management in each year.
It ran from 7:00 PM, 11 February 2009 to 3:00 PM, 25 August 2009
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1130188)
Our project will take conservation action for the natterjack toad in Cumbria. To do this a local Natterjack Officer has been appointed to lead the project, in partnership with other conservation organisations, and a team of dedicated Volunteers. The objectives are: 1) To increase the number of breeding ponds and the amount of suitable terrestrial habitat along the Cumbrian coast. The proposed management will enhance the various habitats - sand dunes, saltmarsh, maritme heath and grazing marshes. As examples: In July we constructed, with volunteers from the Lake District National Park, a new clay lined pool in an area where natterjacks had been spotted but where there was nowhere for them to breed. On sand dune sites we will remove scrub and aim to re-establish cattle grazing. This will lead to the establishment of a more dynamic natural system, creating more windblow, leading to new emphemeral pools being formed in the blowouts. A key element will be maximising opportunities to extend the breeding range of natterjacks, thus linking sites at the landscape level. 2) To increase our knowledge of natterjacks and their distribution. To achieve this, the established network of volunteer Site Monitorers will be strengthened, encouraged and supported. Links will be established with the new University of Cumbria, with a view to filling gaps in knowledge through student projects. 3) To engage the public and raise the level of awareness of natterjacks, and support for our conservation efforts. This will be done by various means, such as; producing a generic amphibian and reptile educational package for primary schools, running a series of guided walks and talks, organising practical work parties and getting the media involved as appropriate. As an example: In the run up to the start of the breeding season in April we contacted local radio stations and asked them to do a ‘Have you Heard this Sound’ feature. This capitalised on the male natterjacks loud croaking chorus, and asked people to get in touch with the Natterjack Officer if they heard it near them.
Please upgrade your browser to continue.