Book SectionsTable of Contents
The Problem Puddle Power Frog-Friendly Backyard Why are we concerned about amphibians?
Wetlands - function/type Wetland issues
How to help amphibians
Community Green Plans
As you create more and more habitat, frogs and toads will find "frog-friendly" routes to your backyard. Although an individual toad may stay in your garden over several weeks, it is natural for frogs and toads to move during the night. The more "frog-friendly" habitat you have in your community the more likely there will be enough frogs and toads for everyone's backyard.
As part of Metro Toronto Zoo's Adopt-A-Pond wetland conservation programme, we encourage Ontario schools to "think globally but act locally". Once we have all 5,000 Ontario schools involved in wetland adoptions, it is your frog-friendly backyard or industrial estate that will provide additional habitat for wetland wild life. As well, your backyard may be the link that allows frogs and toads to move from rural wetlands into and across our urban outback, or from schoolyard to schoolyard.
Many homeowners want to contribute to the diversity of their backyard by adding a water garden to attract wetland species. Pond kits or books on water gardens often do not provide specific options that will meet the requirements of wetland species, including amphibian populations. In fact, many recommendations such as small size, the introduction of ornamental fish, steep sides, and water too shallow for overwintering wild life will kill the very animals that the innocent homeowner has tried to benefit.
Some books and biological pest control suppliers recommend purchasing or moving frogs and toads to your garden.
Even more surprisingly, they suggest that doing so is ecologically sound, contributes to the conservation of species, and is sustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Moving wild life to our backyards, without first creating an ecosystem that will sustain them, dooms the poor creatures to death. Released animals do not recognize your backyard as "home" and are inclined to leave. Although it often appears that we can recreate the habitat of wild animals easily, concerns for the needs of animals go beyond meeting the minimum survival requirements. Often the released animal will not find food or shelter and dies as a stranger in a strange habitat. Even if an area looks like it should support a released animal, there may be subtle reasons why the species does not live there. Do NOT purchase frogs or toads from a nursery or pest control company. When your backyard is "frog-friendly" local frogs, toads, and robins will take up residence in your garden. This is one time when patience is a virtue.
We are anxious to share our expertise in amphibian conservation and wetland restoration techniques with those concerned about the loss of biodiversity (diversity of living organisms). Our understanding of wetland issues at the ecosystem and landscape level will determine the extent to which wetland species can survive. Homeowners and backyard gardeners must share with scientists and wildlife managers the commitment to making our environments healthy and diverse places for both wild life and people.
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