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Naturespeak

Frogs the first to go

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Worldwide, amphibian species are on the decline. No matter which continent, amphibian numbers are dropping and populations are disappearing.

The reasons for the decline are not completely known but the explanations are numerous. Globally, studies are being carried out to try and rectify the problem before more species disappear altogether. And, while the demise of frogs and toads may seem a world apart, amphibians can tell us a great deal about what is going on with our natural environment. Human ecology is tightly connected to the world of the amphibian.

The province of B.C. supports 22 species of amphibians. Whistler is fortunate enough to have several species present within town boundaries. The Western Toad is just one.

This amphibian may not seem all that appealing; stocky, warty, seemingly lethargic. However, toads have a rich and colourful history no matter where you go. This warty creature has been immortalized in numerous fairy tales, myths, and stories, perhaps culminating with Kennath Grahame’s much-beloved children’s book, The Wind in the Willows , where the character “Mr. Toad” captured readers’ attentions with his fanatical addiction to adrenaline sports. What a perfect amphibian to call Whistler home.

In the real world, Western Toads don’t move all that fast, nor do they possess the liveliness of certain infamous storybook characters, but they do appear content to make Lost Lake their home.

In 2006 a team of researchers focused their attentions on Lost Lake and its resident population of Western Toads. The goal was to better understand how the toad uses the habitat at Lost Lake and what can be done in the immediate future to protect their numbers. The results of close to a year’s work have just been compiled. What does the future look like for the Western Toad at Lost Lake? We will show you.

Upcoming Event:

On Feb. 15 at Millennium Place, local amphibian researcher Wendy Horan will be presenting the results from a yearlong study on the population of Western Toads at Lost Lake.

The toad has been experiencing some hits to their overall numbers over the last decade and the intent of the research was to find out why. The information has been compiled and the results are very interesting. What does the future of the Western Toad look like at Lost Lake? Come find out.

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