Flattened frogs in Saanich prompt conservationists to set up hotline

Biologists from Habitat Acquisition Trust found 84 dead and 34 live Pacific treefrogs within an hour on Prospect Lake Road

  • Mar. 9, 2015 8:00 p.m.
Pacific treefrogs

Pacific treefrogs

Amphibians are finding their way onto Prospect Lake Road in shocking numbers, according to a count done by a local conservation group.

Biologists from the Habitat Acquisition Trust have been surveying local roads after reports of dead frogs, and found 84 dead and 34 live Pacific treefrogs within about an hour. The survey was along a short section of Prospect Lake Road bordering a wetland.

“This is just one small section of one road. Imagine the numbers of amphibians that are being killed across the region. We knew amphibians in Victoria were crossing roads but are alarmed about the high observed mortality rates,” said biologist Kristiina Ovaska.

Ovaska and volunteers visited other busy regional roads on a wet night to count the damage elsewhere. At the end of the night, 144 frogs were found.

HAT says every year frogs and salamanders are killed on busy roads as they head towards wetlands to breed.

“We were shocked this year when we went out and found dozens when we thought we’d see a few here and there,” said Adam Taylor, executive director of HAT.

Amphibians follow the same path from forest to pond in the spring each year. With the addition of residential and commercial developments, more trees are removed and important wetland habitats are drained, Taylor said.

“This significantly reduces available habitat for them to live, and what is left has been divided and fragmented by our extensive road networks,” he said.

Reducing the pancake frog population is possible by using small fences to redirect amphibians to lit culverts, and tunnels can be created if needed, Taylor said.

“But first, we need to know where the problem spots are,” he said.

Late at night or early morning is when frogs are most noticeable. If you witness any amphibians sightings, squished or mobile, call the frog roadkill hotline at 250-995-2428 or email hatmail@hat.bc.ca.