Midwife Toad Conservation
To provide breeding sites for midwife toads in Germany
There are 21 native amphibian species in Germany. 16 of these are considered threatened at the national level and have been included in the country's Red List. 2 species are considered to be critically endangered, 5 endangered, 5 vulnerable, and 2 near threatened. One more is rare due to its limited range within the country, and another is declining.
While chytrid fungus, a pathogen causing worldwide dramatic losses in amphibians, does occur in Central Europe, it does not appear to be the reason for the overall precarious situation of the German amphibians. The main reasons are rather habitat loss and fragmentation, and the high number of migrating animals being killed by road traffic.
As part of the long-term Amphibian Conservation Programme of the zoos, animal parks and wildlife parks in the German-speaking area, at least 27 institutions have decided to take measures to improve the survival of amphibians locally, i.e. on their properties or in their neighbourhood. Activities include monitoring and research, rehabilitation or creation of habitats, and, where necessary, translocations and reintroductions. These activities are accompanied by educational programmes.
In 2006, the city of Wuppertal carried out, within its boundaries, a monitoring of all sites where the Common Midwife Toad, Alytes obstetricans,
was known to occur, and an alarming decline of the populations was
documented. Except for some relic populations in lime quarries, the
species was almost locally extinct.
By restoring former habitats and creating new ones the decline should be stopped. A breeding station at the Nature Conservation Center Bruchhausen will provide tadpoles and toadlets for release in the wild. One of the new sites is the water moat of the new lion exhibit of Wuppertal Zoo, which offers safe and suitable living conditions for the tadpoles. Close to the moat, hiding places for the dispersing toadlets were created. In 2008, tapoles were translocated into the moat. The development of the population will be monitored by the Environement Department of the municipality.
WAZA Conservation Project 08016 is implemented by the Wuppertal Zoo in collaboration with local authorities and organisations, and with the financial support of Friends of Wuppertal Zoo and the State of Northrhine-Westphalia.
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