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Wuppertal Zoo Society - Nature conservation

Resettlement of the Midwife Toad in Bergischen Land

  • Midwife Toad (Foto: Thomas Kordges)
  • Midwife Toad as tadpole

Midwife toads are small Salientians from the Painted Frog family with mostly inconspicuous grey or brown colouration. Their call is reminiscent of a high pitched flute, whistle or bell. From the various species of Midwife Toad, the native Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricans) is the only one indigenous to central Europe. They settle in sunny, warm spots, but also in damp, earthy crannies under slabs of stone or in burrows.  These conditions can be found in Germany especially in quarries and clay pits. The hatching tadpoles are settled in sparsely vegetated pools and ponds.

 

 

The survival of the Midwife Toad is endangered mostly by the loss of its habitat, for example due to filling of puddles, re-cultivating or conversion of walls and rock biotopes, quarries and clay caverns, and also through the natural succession (especially vegetation encroachment) of biotopes. Additionally, single populations are being isolated from one another, for example by streets or intensive farming.

Since the 1980s a dramatic reduction of the Midwife Toad has been recorded in excavation areas in Bergischen Land. Although North Rhine-Westphalia was originally the main habitat of the Midwife Toad, most of the populations, for example on farmsteads, mills and polishing ponds are meanwhile extinct.

  • Tadpoles being set free in the moat of the lion enclosure
  • Tadpoles swimming out of the bucket

 

With the help of a conservation and resettlement project the Midwife Toad population in Bergischen Land should stabilize so that the extinction of this native species can be prevented. In March 2008 Midwife Toad tadpoles were set free in the moat by the lion enclosure. The Wuppertal Zoo Society is supporting this project with some of the proceeds from the charity concert for the protection of endangered species.

Further information regarding the Midwife Toad conservation project can be downloaded here:
Info flyer Midwife Toad Conservation project

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