Would you cross a busy road, knowing that you might not make it safely across? Unlikely, so why do hundreds of Giant Bullfrogs do it each year?
The Giant Bullfrog is the second largest species of frog in the world, and an iconic species in Gauteng, which is the stronghold of their distributional range in South Africa. Loss of grassland and pan habitat within this rapidly urbanising area is threatening the species’ survival. This includes both the direct impacts of roads, such as being killed by vehicles, and the indirect impacts, such as being prevented from reaching breeding sites from over-wintering sites. The species is also an explosive breeder – emerging from underground burrows where they spend much of the year for only a few weeks in summer. With the recent heavy rains in Gauteng, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), an Amphibian Survival Alliance Partner, has received unprecedented reports of Giant Bullfrog sightings, including many of roadkill occurring at several sites.
The EWT is continuing its work to help prevent roadkill of this iconic species by informing members of the public when the bullfrogs are going to be active. January is anticipated to be the next period of activity for the bullfrog and we are calling on members of the public to assist us through being our watchdogs on the roads. If you find a bullfrog on the road, dead or alive, please send us a photograph, the location (preferably GPS coordinates) and road name, as well as the number of bullfrogs seen, to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you find an injured bullfrog, it can still be saved by taking it to your local veterinarian.
Your reports will assist us in identifying breeding sites and areas that require potential conservation action to reduce the roadkill. Other plans to protect these animals include modification of under-road culverts and encouraging the bullfrogs to make use of these passages as crossing routes to their breeding sites. Reducing incidences of roadkill of this species will contribute to alleviating the threats facing these animals, and given their high visibility and short breeding season, is a project that could have high impact for their ongoing survival.
Together, we can make a difference on our country’s roads – will you help?
The EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project is supported by Bridgestone SA, N3 Toll Concession, Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concession and TRAC N4.