Visit the Lower Silvermine Wetlands in Clovelly, next door to Fish Hoek. Visit an exquisite urban nature reserve, caught beautifully between ocean, mountain and dune habitats. A lovely natural sponge of clean water which is home to various indigenous species, especially frogs.
According to Wikipedia, this reserve protects a section of Hangklip Sand Fynbos and the biodiverse indigenous Cape Wetlands of the Silvermine River. Rehabilitated due to local flooding problems, it is a breeding ground for many amphibians including the endangered Western Leopard Toad, the Arum Lily Frog, the Cape River Frog and the Clicking Stream Frog.
Look out for small mammal species here too: porcupine, otter, grysbok and mongoose. About 50 bird species have been recorded here, though some are no longer seen in the area. Alien invasive vegetation is still a threat, as is the excessive proliferation of the indigenous Bulrush or Typha which thrive on the unnatural quantities of minerals and nutrients being washed into the wetland from urban storm water.
Earth Kids joined Toad Nuts member, Richelle Steyn, on a glorious walk around the wetland. She taught them so much about the hydrology, the biology and the geology. What an eye opener of a habitat and ecosystem. A wetland is so important to the lives all living things – especially humans, of course!
Did you know that wetlands are known as the earth’s ‘kidneys’? This is because, like your kidneys, they serve the very important function of filtering water. As water moves through a wetland, the sediments and pollutants ‘stick’ in the wetland, making the water cleaner. Wetlands also help reduce flooding and prevent shoreline erosion.
What can YOU do to Help the Western Leopard Toads?
So, what can you do? These toads are, after all, endangered and like any other endangered animal, should be protected. This can only happen if people take action. Here’s what you can do:
- Volunteer. It doesn’t matter if you live in a toad area or not. During the migration, volunteers are needed to move these toads out of harm’s way.
- Slow down! If you live in a toad area, slow down when driving around your neighbourhood, particularly at night.
- Keep an eye open. Some of these toads are really big. You can’t help but spot them on the roads, so be aware.
- Tell someone. If you’ve seen any of these toads, visit www.leopardtoad.co.za and register your sighting. Tell your neighbours. Let them know what a privilege it is to have an endangered species living in your neighbourhood, and then tell them how to look after these wonderful creatures.
- Upload your toad. If you find a leopard toad, take a picture of it and upload it to the website.
We build our homes in areas where western leopard toads have always congregated. When toads move between their garden abodes and their breeding sites, hundreds are unnecessarily killed by cars. We can choose for this not to happen. It is up to us.