When we think of biodiversity loss, what often comes to mind is the heavily publicised megafauna that are struggling such as tigers and rhinos. We don’t often think of the plight of the common toad (Bufo bufo), a species that is becoming far less common, despite what its name suggests. Over the past 30 years, the UK has seen a 68% decline in the species due to road mortality and habitat loss. Not only does this have cascading effects on our ecosystems, but it also limits the richness of nature that is available to enjoy on our doorsteps.
Wildlife charity Froglife has enjoyed a very successful partnership with Ealing, fighting for the common goal of facing global biodiversity loss head on. The charity, which focuses on protecting reptiles and amphibians nationally has been closely liaising with the borough across the span of its three-year project London Tails of Amphibian Discovery (T.O.A.D). It is important to address local declines of any species before it becomes a global issue, at which point it may be too late for any hopes of recovery in local regions. So how has this been done?
Transforming landscapes: addressing habitat loss
Froglife has worked on improving and creating habitat for native amphibians in sites across Ealing. These sites now form part of a nature trail which you can walk through and possibly even spot a toad-sculpted bench along the way! These sites are: Horsenden Hill, Glade Lane Canalside Park, Trumpers Field, Dormers Wells Moated Manor and Walpole Park.
Transforming lives: nature is vital for our wellbeing
Over the course of three years and a global pandemic, the London-wide project has held 31 activities, workshops, and events in Ealing. These have included allotment visits, upskilling volunteers on habitat management, toad shows to celebrate amphibians, a tapestry tour and more! After all, no habitat work is complete without encouraging locals to enjoy it and to increase awareness for the species that we share these spaces with. Overall, Froglife has engaged with 3,550 local people and the hope is that those people will continue to safeguard Ealing’s wildlife and green spaces for generations to come.
As a proud partner of ActForEaling, Froglife will continue with its presence in the borough. As the London T.O.A.D project ends, Ealing will be welcoming another project. Froglife’s Leaping Forward for Dementia project aims to help more people connect with nature, particularly those in vulnerable groups in society. Over 55s, those struggling with dementia, and those that have been socially prescribed with time outdoors will be welcome to join local groups to get involved in Ealing’s lovely green spaces. Visit www.froglife.org to find out more.