Seeing the car before me swerve I stopped and shone my headlights to find out what its driver had tried to miss… and I saw Princess trying to hop away from other on-coming cars. I really hoped she had escaped being hit, but quickly saw that even though she was still jumping, two of her legs were looked injured.
Being in a hurry to get to work, I had no idea what I was going to do with her, but I knew I had to get help for her. I scooped her into my car’s boot with my horse riding hat, yes, I was a bit afraid of touching her! Arriving at the office I hid her in a dark cupboard, so that she would have peace and quiet while I called around trying to find a vet who would be willing to see her.
The vet was not too hopeful but did wonders. I was amazed to discover just how much people were willing to do to help – I couldn’t believe that she was operated on, not to mention the days of special care to rehabilitate her!
My experience with Princess has reminded me of how each person can really make a difference by helping in small ways. Princess has already caused so many of my colleagues, friends and family to become more aware of Leopard toads and their challenges… a big difference for such a little toad!
Liani Kruger July 2012
Follow-up by Hanniki a Leopard Toad Volunteer and the voice of the Toad Hotline.
I received a call on the Thursday from a friend working at the Vet practice to ask if I would come and fetch a toad they had operated on. I was amazed when I got there to find this small animal with a pin in her hind leg. She was put on antibiotics and vitamin injections. The Vet had to pin the left back leg as it was badly fractured. She also had her left front leg slashed – it had to be sewed up and it was dislocated at the wrist. That Princess survived the accident is a miracle, that she is still alive and eating 3 weeks later is another miracle.
A lot can be said about both Liani and the Vet (who does not want to be named). They never gave up on one of our critically endangered animals. Hanniki
X-ray on LHS showing Princess’s legs and the broken bone that had to be pinned on the RHS. X-ray on RHS showing Princess’s head and front legs including her dislocated wrist on the LHS.
Western Leopard Toads are nocturnal and as this accident happened early in the morning, she most probably was out foraging for food. Leopard Toads are very mobile and often cross roads to move to new foraging areas. Being rainy that morning, she was dark in colour on a black tar road. Not a good place to be. Drivers can’t easily see toads on the roads unless they are keeping a look out and most drivers are unaware that they are in a toad area (“Toadland”). Hanniki
Late July until mid September is traditionally the Western Leopard Toad breeding season. This is the time of the year when mature toads move from gardens, parks and natural areas to their breeding ponds. Throughout the South Peninsula this breeding migration will see thousands of endangered leopard toads crossing roads to get to breeding ponds. If you live near wetlands, large ponds and rivers, please be on the lookout for toads on roads at night and early in the morning especially if it has been raining. To find out more about leopard toads or to become a volunteer and to help toads across roads and to count the number of toads in your area for population research, become a toad volunteer.
Volunteers from all areas are invited to become part of the toading community. Call Alison on 082 771 6232 for more information.
If you would like to help save the Western Leopard Toad and join the association of volunteers you can also visit www.LeopardToad.co.za or call Hanniki on the WLT hotline on 082 516 3602.