80 volunteers on the “Toad Rescue” mission in the Wurzburg area

80 volunteers on the "Toad Rescue" mission in the Wurzburg area

They are again on their way to their roaming ground: toad, frog or newts. To get there, animals often have to cross the road. So that amphibians do not move, volunteers are on duty – like Christine Ruhel. Since the early hours of the morning, the 73-year-old has been roaming the streets near Erlach in Vrijburg district, with a neon yellow safety vest on his jacket. To prevent amphibians on the asphalt, green tarpaulins have been laid there. With the onset of warmer temperatures, they are drawn from a piece of forest outside the village to nearby waters.

6,000 volunteers collect toads

Christine Ruhl points to a black bucket she carries in her hand: “Two males and one female with a male on the back. The female clings to the female and can be carried – very comfortably.” This morning it is dry, its volume is high in moist weather.

Christine Ruhl has been involved in amphibian protection for over 20 years. He is currently one of 80 volunteers in the W├╝rzburg district. These days, Bund Natterschut’s assistants are being rolled out again throughout the state. Stephan Jodl said about 6,000 people are deployed to protect the amphibians from “certain road deaths”. He is a regional officer of the Federation of Nature Conservation in Lower Franconia. According to him, road fences and assistants manage to save around 700,000 animals a year. The population can be protected.

Endangered by climate change: amphibians

However, road traffic is only a danger, says Jodl. The decline in biodiversity will also have an impact on amphibians. Fewer insects mean less food. The climax of the growing season will also have a negative effect: cold frost, for example, or drought in half a year of winter. “This again and again leads to the fact that these amphibian populations collapse in an apparently demonic manner,” Jodl says.

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In the few years around Erlach, Christine Ruhl and her colleagues have already transported 3,000 amphibians to their buckets. The current season is expected to last until early May. “It’s fun – and we walk in fresh air,” says Ruhl.

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