FoTS leads way in rescuing Danson froglets

Friends of the Shuttle Committee member Mandy Stevens has been quick off the mark to start rescuing newly-metamorphosed Froglets from the formal Old English Garden pond at Danson Park, as they are unable to exit the waterbody due to the sheer sides and large overhang. This results in exhaustion and drowning as they struggle, unsuccessfully, to get out.

Amphibians breed in the pond, but cannot get out again and drown. A few may be able to climb out using the waterlily leaves, but in practice this appears not to be happening.

Amphibians breed in the Danson Old English Garden pond, but cannot get out again and drown. A few may be able to climb out using the waterlily leaves, but in practice this appears not to be happening.

Mandy spent a couple of hours yesterday catching Froglets and taking them to the margins of the lake.  She collected at least 60 in three trips using just a small sieve and an old ice cream carton.

A rather poor mobile phone cam photo showing a most likely  drowned Froglet in the English Garden pond. They can be caught, lifted out and moved elsewhere pending a permanent fix, such as installing  some kind of exit ramps.

A rather poor mobile phone cam photo showing a most likely drowned Froglet in the English Garden pond. They can be caught, lifted out and moved elsewhere pending a permanent fix, such as installing some kind of exit ramps.

Mandy took action after being alerted to this perennial problem by London Amphibian and Reptile group officer Chris Rose.

Earlier indirect attempts have been made to tackle this matter, with the Chair of the Friends of Danson Park asked on numerous occasions during 2012 and 2013 to raise the issue with the Council, but this seems not to have been done. Meanwhile, various park users have said that Frogs used to breed in the bog garden ponds – but they appear to no longer do so, probably because of  shading, pollution from heavy waterfowl use, rotting chunks of bread and attendant Crows and Rats – leaving the formal pond as the only place where they continue to spawn successfully.

Chris and LARG Chair Sam Ho have also seen mating Common Toads in the formal pond. This is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species due to a serious decline in numbers.

We are therefore pleased to report that having been informed directly about the current situation, Bexley Council parks and nature conservation officers Len Pegler-Vincent and Mark Taylor swiftly sanctioned the ‘rescue’ action, and have agreed to discuss a permanent solution to the pond exit problem.

Anyone willing to help rescue Froglets in the next few weeks can contact Chris at chrisrose@gn.apc.org   There will probably also be an opportunity to do this at the FoTS@Danson lake clean-up event on June 19th (see Calendar page for details).

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