New Natterjack Toad Monitoring Project in Co. Kerry

Date Released: Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ireland has just three species of native amphibians and the Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) is the rarest, restricted to Co. Kerry. A new three year project to study the toad at its breeding sites in Kerry has just commenced. This project will focus on updating our understanding of toad distribution, evaluate breeding success and estimate adult population sizes and trends. It will also examine aquatic and terrestrial habitat quality and assess the success of the ongoing pond creation scheme.

From April to July 2016-2018, spawning activity will be recorded every 7-14 days at all breeding sites and at the 100 breeding ponds newly dug under the Toad Pond Creation Scheme. Egg strings, tadpoles and juvenile numbers will be monitored and from this the total size of the breeding population can be estimated. The information collected will update the last monitoring report by Sweeney et al. (2013) and contribute to the next Article 17 report on the conservation status of the species under the EU Habitats Directive, due in 2019.

The three year project (starting December 2015), will be run by Dr Neil Reid and Prof Mark Emmerson at Queen’s University Belfast, and is funded by the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.