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Amphibians for city pond

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: Wildlife Gardening
Forum Description: For discussion about wildlife (especially amphibian and reptile) gardening
Printed Date: 23 Nov 2020 at 4:18pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: Amphibians for city pond
Posted By: Adelaide Community G
Subject: Amphibians for city pond
Date Posted: 07 Aug 2019 at 5:36pm
We are a large old established community garden in Inner London. We are surrounded by high walls and have 40 small allotments which have been featured on TV. We have a small woodland area, two ponds and a variety of habitats. Before 10 years ago we had hundreds of frogs and nearly every plot had sink sunk in the ground with at least one frog in it. No newts, toads, fish or reptiles... just common frogs. Then 10 years ago every single frog died in the same year.
No amphibians have repopulated our ponds because we are an oasisis surrounded by roads and terraced houses with no way in (apart from through our security gate).
We are told by everyone not to introduce amphibians from other ponds... because they might cause infections... but we have nothing to infect. There are also no other ponds in the neighbourhood.
Surely with the continuing erosion of habitats and the filling in of ponds and the rescuing of amphibians.. like GCNs.... there are plenty of homeless amphibians that need new ponds.
But we are told to be patient and they will come naturally... and transferring new amphibians is now illegal. Well none have arrived yet... ie for 10 years ... and unless they parachute in.. there is no way they can get into our garden.
It would be great to have some biodiversity... It seems very sad if managing this is illegal.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

We have a grant from HS2 to improve our biodiversity... to offset their destruction of the wooded railway embankment nearby (to build their infrastucture). So we can afford to buy amphibians. I know that they are removing GCN's etc elsewhere eg from the many ancient woodlands they are destroying. I've asked them if they can supply some displaced amphibians... but they javent got a clue... even though they publicise that the scale of their wildlife rescue.
It's a shame that urban ponds like ours are denied biodiversity.

All suggestions would be gratefully received because our many frogs were a much loved feature of the garden.. which we would like to restore (and introduce newts and toads)

Posted By: Caleb
Date Posted: 12 Aug 2019 at 12:15pm
Originally posted by Adelaide Community G Adelaide Community G wrote:

transferring new amphibians is now illegal.

Transferring the common species isn't illegal, it's just advised against to avoid spreading disease. 

I wouldn't have any qualms about transferring spawn or tadpoles from a nearby garden pond that has excess. You wouldn't get adult frogs for 2-3 years, so you might want to do this for several years running.

As they won't spawn till next spring, you've got plenty of time to try to find a suitable donor pond...

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 16 Aug 2019 at 6:17pm
I concur with Caleb. It's difficult to think the 'dangers' of transferring potential disease to a non-existent population out-way the conservation benefits of a new colony.

Our own garden population started from transferred spawn. People locally told us that common frogs were 'common' locally 30-40 years ago. We saw one adult female common frog in 10 years in our pond. That was eaten by a grass snake the next day!

So we thought with zero chance of a natural colonisation we may as well introduce some spawn.

I chose to take some from a very large wild population I had monitored for years. No signs of diseased adults down the years and the small amount of spawn taken would have had no impact at all on the population as each year it was laid in huge sheets that practically covered the pond. I thought it best to use spawn from such a population because of negligible impact of removing spawn and likely genetic diversity within the population. I took 3-4 clumps from different areas of the pond.

It has been up and down and some years no tadpoles survive at all in our pond. I hand rear some of the spawn most years. The adult breeding population though small in comparison with some garden populations, is though still going, and some frogs is far better than no frogs!

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