Citizen science to toads’ rescue

first_imgVolunteers brave dangerous roads and cold, wet nights to help hundreds of these beautiful amphibians reach their watery breeding sites, and find their way home safely once the breeding season is over. Education initiatives and creating awareness about the plight of the toads, particularly as the breeding season approaches, is another important part of Alison Faraday and her conservation colleagues’ work. For a number of years committed volunteers and supportive communities in the Cape Town area have been working hard to ensure Western Leopard toads have a chance of survival in the wild.(Images: Alison Faraday) Western Leopard toads are classified as threatened on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.(Image: blog.noordhoekvillage.co.za)MEDIA CONTACTS • Alison FaradaySpots co-ordinator+27 82 771 6232Wilma den HartighConservation efforts by a group of dedicated volunteers and the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department are helping to protect South Africa’s endangered Western Leopard toads.Every year around August, when the Western Leopard toads’ breeding season begins, volunteers from the greater Cape Town area spend many hours ensuring that the little creatures survive their annual migration to breeding sites.Saving as many toads as possible is a labour of love for the volunteers, who brave dangerous roads and cold, wet nights to help hundreds of these beautiful amphibians reach their watery breeding sites, and find their way home safely once the breeding season is over.Suzie J’Kul, a founder of Noordhoek Unpaid Toad Savers and its subsidiary, South Peninsula Outstanding Toad Savers (Spots), says volunteers and members of the public are contributing to citizen science to ensure the species survives.“Through volunteering we are saving an endangered species from becoming extinct, as well as ensuring that our children’s children will inherit this biodiversity that they very much deserve to be a part of,” J’Kul says.Every night, at 18h15 when it gets dark, the first team of volunteers heads out onto the roads, armed with flashlights and reflective gear, to look for toads. The first group works a four-hour shift until 22h15, and then the next team takes over.“It is hard work, but worth it,” says Alison Faraday, co-ordinator of Spots.Threats to survivalWestern Leopard toads (Amietophrynus Pantherinus) are classified as threatened on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.They are endemic to a small area of the South Western Cape region, Cape Peninsula and Agulhas Plain.Also known as the August frog, they are easily identified by their beautiful markings of chocolate to reddish-brown patches with a bright yellow or black edging on a pink or grey background.Faraday says urban development, habitat degradation and road traffic are some of the biggest threats to the long-term survival of local populations.During the breeding season toads have to navigate road traffic, walls, embankments, swimming pools, drains and storm water canals, and often many don’t survive.Breeding usually takes place during August, but has also been recorded in late July, September, and some breeding calls have even been heard in early October. The start of the season depends largely on rainfall and temperature and sometimes occurs during warmer weather followed by periods of rain.These variables make the work of volunteers even more difficult as only the toads know exactly when the breeding migration will take place.While breeding generally takes place in larger, more secure water bodies, urban development has caused changes to traditional breeding sites, restricting the foraging area and movement of toads. This reduces population size and interrupts gene flow between populations.Faraday says July and August are the most dangerous months for the toads.“This is when most of the mortalities happen, when they are hit by cars and killed,” she says.“Busy roads in the urban areas where they live are death traps, and this animal needs all the help it can get to survive. What we do is pick up as many of these little guys as we can.”Committed volunteersFor a number of years committed volunteers and supportive communities in the Cape Town area have been working hard to ensure Western Leopard toads have a chance of survival in the wild.“This is something that untrained volunteers can do something about. It is incredibly rewarding,” Faraday says. “We have amazing volunteers.”About 18 suburbs and 100 volunteers are currently involved in the initiative. Ahead of each breeding season, volunteers receive training and they are rostered for four-hour shifts at a time to drive up and down the busiest roads, picking up toads.An important part of their work is also to keep records of the number of toads they see and rescue, noting whether they are dead, alive, male or female and their approximate age. This helps the toad conservation organisations assess the success of their work, and where they can improve.Noordhoek volunteers have gathered six years of records for the area, and neighbouring suburbs have been collecting data for three years.“We need at least 10 years of statistics to clearly determine the increase or decrease in Western Leopard toad numbers as well as to confirm suspected theories on breeding patterns,” says J’Kul.Rehabilitating breeding areasRecently the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department successfully rehabilitated a breeding site for the toads in Kommetjie, a suburb of Cape Town.The site, known as Skilpadsvlei, is a historic wetland area in Kommetjie that was drained and filled during the 1940s. It was the only known breeding site for the toad in the area.The City of Cape Town provided phased funding to revive the wetland, which included improving the open space around the area for public enjoyment, as well as restoring the ecological functioning of the system. Part of the project also ensured that the water quality was of a high standard and continuously monitored.The restoration of the wetland is an important step forward in the conservation of the endangered toads, and it seems if the amphibians are taking to the rehabilitated area.In June 2012, Western Leopard toads were seen at the new site during the very first breeding season and in November toadlets were recorded.Unfortunately, two of the three adult toads that selected Skilpadsvlei as their preferred breeding site were later killed on the roads adjacent to the wetland, and this is why the work of volunteers patrolling roads is so important.Permanent solutions and creating awarenessThe Noordhoek Unpaid Toad Savers and Spots organisations are always in need of more volunteers to go out at night when the migration period begins.They also invite the public in all areas where the animals are found to inform them of any activity around the time when the breeding season is expected to start.However, Faraday says that they are looking into finding a more sustainable, long-term solution to protect the toads.“Ultimately we need something that is permanent,” she says.This year the Noordhoek volunteer organisation plans to test a small barrier system, involving sunken buckets that are to be installed on one of Noordhoek’s busiest roads.The buckets will be lowered into the ground at areas of the road where toads usually cross. As they approach, the toads will fall into the buckets, and at intervals volunteers will carry them across the road.“This will hopefully help to save even more toads. It is a good start,” Faraday says.Even though the buckets will delay the frogs for a short while, at least they will be protected and reach their breeding sites safely.Education initiatives and creating awareness about the plight of the toads, particularly as the breeding season approaches, is another important part of Faraday and her conservation colleagues’ work.“It is absolutely essential to get kids aware and we also have bumper stickers that volunteers stick on their cars,” Faraday says. She regularly presents talks at schools to inform children about the toads and how they can help to protect them.Every year they run an awareness campaign to appeal to local motorists to drive more slowly in the affected areas at night and early in the morning, while the migration is underway.last_img read more

Mahadayi ruling major victory: Goa government

first_imgThe Goa government on Tuesday claimed that the Mahadayi Inter-state Water Disputes Tribunal’s ruling, was a “major victory” for the State. On Tuesday, the tribunal decided that Goa will allot 13.42 TMC of water from the Mahadayi river basin to Karnataka, as against the latter’s demand for 36.55.The tribunal headed by Justice J.M. Panchal ruled that only 13.42 TMC water would be allotted to Karnataka. Karnataka had claimed 36.55 TMC water from the Mahadayi basin, which included 1.50 TMC for irrigation and drinking, 7.56 TMC for diversion to the already depleted basin of the Malaprabha river through the Kalsa-Bahnduri canal project and 14.97 for power generation.Goa Congress, however, called the verdict unfortunate and urged the State to appeal against it. Former chief minister Francisco Sardinha alleged that the verdict was manipulated by the BJP government at the Centre.“They should move the Supreme Court to get justice. If this is not done, then people of Goa will have to come on to the roads to remind the government that this is their job and they should do it as early as possible,” Mr. Sardinha said. Mr. Sardinha said that the members of the tribunal were appointed by the Central government and that the ruling was known before-hand, because BJP national president Amit Shah had promised the people of Karnataka of diverting the Mahadayi river water in the run-up to the polls in Karnataka.Rajendra Kerkar, senior environmentalist and leader of Mahadayi Bachav Abhiyan, an NGO which has been simultaneously fighting the case on the State’s side, said, “This is a loss to Goa, and a setback to its environment and ecology.”Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni said that the Goa government did not have any objection to Karnataka’s claim for use of water from the basin for consumptive purposes.“Karnataka has been allocated only 5.5 TMC of water which also includes 1.5 TMC of water for in-basin consumptive use for which the state of Goa did not have any objection,” he added.An official from the Goa Water Resources Department said that the 8.02 TMC water allotted to Karnataka for power generation, would not have much impact on Goa’s needs, because the water would continue to flow downwards along the river into Goa.Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar who had earlier said that the State would not share “one drop of water” from the Mahadayi with Karnataka, was unavailable for comment.Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is currently on a U.S. trip for a medical check-up, on Twitter, said, “I am happy that the Mahadayi Tribunal with its final verdict has done justice to Goa.” Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are locked in a dispute over the Mahadayi river basin. Mahadayi also known as the Mandovi river when it enters Goa, is considered a lifeline in the northern parts of the State. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through the territory of Maharashtra.While 78% of the basin of the Mahadayi river lies in Goa, 42.79% is located in Karnataka and a small portion comes under Maharashtra.last_img read more

Pirates, Lions extend streaks

first_imgCelebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Quarters: 17-18, 41-28, 63-41, 72-58LYCEUM 96 – MAPUA 90LYCEUM 96—Perez 22, Jc. Marcelino 19, Ayaay 10, Tansingco 10, Caduyac 8, Pretta 8, Jv. Marcelino 6, Liwag 5, Nzeusseu 5, Marata 3, Baltazar 0, Cinco 0, Ibañez 0, Santos 0.MAPUA 90—Gabo 21, Buñag 18, Victoria 16, Aguirre 11, Nieles 9, Orquina 7, Pelayo 6, Raflores 2.Quarters: 20-21, 48-43, 73-58, 96-90Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lyceum coach Topex Robinson, though, was dissatisfied with how his unbeaten squad played as the cellar-dwelling Cardinals gave the Pirates everything they could handle.“We didn’t honor the game and it almost backfired on us,” said Robinson. “Credit to coach Atoy (Co) for preparing his team well.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSan Beda also sustained its streak with a 72-58 rout of St. Benilde in the first game.The Lions’ eighth straight victory, however, was overshadowed by an endgame fracas where Carlo Young tackled a driving Robert Bolick down on a fastbreak with 2:28 left. Rio silver medalist Diaz back in actioncenter_img MOST READ LATEST STORIES Lyceum didn’t look like it missed a beat as it sustained its hot streak in the second round of the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament with a 96-90 victory over Mapua Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.CJ Perez paced the Pirates with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Jaycee Marcelino got 19 points, six boards, and two assists in the Pirates’ 10th straight win.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Things escalated quickly under the basket which led to a disqualifying foul on Young and the ejection of Bolick, who was seen retaliating by the referees during the replay, and Clint Doliguez, who entered the playing court.After the game, coach Boyet Fernandez expressed disgust on how officials handled the commotion and expects the commissioner to review the incident. —RANDOLPH B. LEONGSON, INQUIRER.NETSAN BEDA 72 – ST. BENILDE 58SAN BEDA 72—Bolick 14, Potts 12, Mocon 10, Soberano 8, Tankoua 7, Cabanag 5, Noah 5, Bahio 4, Carino 3, Adamos 2, Doliguez 2, Abuda 0, Oftana 0, Tongco 0.ST. BENILDE 58—Leutcheu 25, Domingo 8, Sta. Maria 8, Pili 5, Castor 4, Belgica 2, Dixon 2, Naboa 2, San Juan 2, Johnson 0, Young 0.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View commentslast_img read more

Davao del Norte native rules 5K run in Batang Pinoy Mindanao leg

first_imgLATEST STORIES The 14-year-old from Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte got his chance for redemption after blazing the trail in the boys’ 5000-meter run on Thursday in the Mindanao qualifying leg of the sportsfest in search of the finest athletes age 15 years old and younger.“I ran in the finals last year, but didn’t finish the race,” said Gumban in Filipino after topping his event in 17 minutes and 14 seconds to retain the title he captured in the qualifiers in 2018 Oroquieta City.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe Grade 8 long-distance runner from Sto. Tomas National High School injured his foot during the finals in Baguio City last year.“I’ll come in prepared for the finals, I don’t want to waste this opportunity again,’’ said Gumban, who ruled the same event last week in the Davao Regional Athletic Association meet. View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Either Ormoc City or Tagbilaran in Bohol will host the 2020 Batang Pinoy National Finals.Gumban got off his bunk as early as three hours before the race and defeated Lordy Salpid of General Santos City (19:05.07) and Rome Laviste Jr. of Davao del Sur (19:12.66).He intends to pull off a hat-trick by winning the steeplechase and 1500m at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex track oval before the meet organized by the Philippine Sports Commission ends Sunday.Mary Joy Mancera of Davao del Sur shared the spotlight with Gumban after dominating the girls’ discus throw (26.28 meters) while Rona Bacus of Cagayan de Oro asserted herself in the girls’ triple jump (11.01 meters).Zamboanga City was a force in pencak silat with 13 gold medals, overwhelming South Cotabato and General SantosCity, which collected six gold apiece.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusationscenter_img Alex Cabagnot happy to see former players Diego Dario, Paul Desiderio in the PBA TAGUM CITY—Aaron Gumban’s golden dream ended in tatters in the previous Batang Pinoy national finals.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Zamboanga City also showed its might in karatedo with three golds courtesy of Hanica Regino (girls 11-12 intermediate kata) and Jullian Pueblo (boys 12-13 intermediate kata pool A and C).Duplicating Zamboanga’s feat at the NCCC mall were Mary Geerica Galsing (girls 8-9 intermediate kata), Christian John Borongan (boys 12-13 intermediate kata Pool B) and Marcu Noel Pacapac (boys 8-9 advance kata) for Calamba, Misamis Occidental.Swimmer John Alexander Talosig increased his gold-medal production to four after besting the field in the boys 13-15 200m freestyle (2:05.43) and 15-under 400m individual medley (5:00.58).The 14-year-old from Southern Christian College eatlier won the boys 13-15 200m IM (2:19.74) and 15-under 1500m free (17:52.25).Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

New Member Benefits: SportsPass release

first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) is delighted to announce a new initiative and exciting partnership with SportsPass. The relationship with SportsPass extends the benefits of affiliation for TFA and associated states, regions and affiliates and delivers on various TFA Strategic Plan 2011-15 objectives. This relationship provides an improved value proposition for you, and your members – who will now be able to access special deals, cheaper rates and bonuses. SportsPass is a dedicated member benefits program for Australian sporting associations and clubs that adds value to club memberships, whilst also providing a new funding source for Australian sport through the sale of the Supporter Cards. Firstly, members and supporters of participating associations and clubs benefit by having access to instant rewards from hundreds of participating SportsPass partners, through the ‘I am a member’ and ‘I am a supporter’ cards. For more information, please click on the attached media release and SportsPass information booklet.Related Filessportspass_media_release_april_2015-pdfsportspass_information_booklet_april_2015-pdfRelated LinksSportsPass Releaselast_img read more

The Worst: Ohio State’s Wireless Is Preventing Buckeye QB Stephen Collier From Watching “House Of Cards”

first_imgStephen Collier can't watch House of Cards because of Ohio State's wireless signal.Today is a great day. It’s Friday, but, more importantly, Season 3 of House of Cards has been released. Millions of people across the country will be visiting Netflix to watch Frank Underwood wreak havoc in Washington, D.C. Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Collier wants to be one of those people watching the show. But he can’t – the spotty wireless on OSU’s Columbus campus isn’t letting him access the online media platform. We feel for you, Stephen. Finally get a break to go watch House of Cards in between class in then Osuwireless does Osuwireless things pic.twitter.com/u479rsHAsJ— Stephen Collier (@S13Collier) February 27, 2015Ohio State wireless: step your game up. There’s TV shows to be binging.last_img read more

Video: Deion Sanders Addressed The Florida State Team Today

first_imgDeion Sanders walks into the Florida State team facility.NFL Hall of Famer and Florida State legend Deion Sanders was back at his alma mater today. While Sanders was there, he gave a speech to the current crop of Seminoles. The central message of Sanders’ talk was the expectations players should have for themselves. There’s also some footage of Sanders’ NFL Network interview with FSU defensive back Jalen Ramsey, a projected top-10 pick in next month’s draft. “What do you expect from yourself?”@DeionSanders spoke to the team before practice.https://t.co/tyPuqF4vsT— FSU Football (@FSU_Football) March 30, 2016The ‘Noles would be wise to listen to Sanders and heed his advice.last_img read more

Jennifer Garner Blogs For Save The Children On iVillage

first_imgJennifer Garner has blogged on iVillage about her work as an artist ambassador with Save the Children and how early childhood education can make a huge impact in enhancing kids’ lives.“‘Early childhood education’ has become a sort of catchphrase for politicians and children’s advocates like me,” she wrote. “As an artist ambassador for Save the Children, I’ve had the privilege of seeing Save’s programs firsthand and meeting with the parents and children that they support. I’ve sat in young mothers’ homes. I’ve seen how much these mothers love their children, how their dreams and aspirations for their children are no different than yours and mine are for our own kids. But the truth is, it’s sort of tricky to figure out what exactly “early childhood education” means, what it entails, and how exactly it is relevant to your possibilities as an adult.“More than 60 percent of poor families don’t have books in their homes. It isn’t that kids should be reading by kindergarten, but they should know what a book is — how to hold it, turn the pages, and how to sit still in anticipation of hearing a story.“And that’s why Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success programs are so effective. Through home visits, book exchanges, parenting groups and more, Early Steps helps babies and toddlers with language, social and emotional development. Just as important, the program helps their parents, giving them the knowledge and skills to support their children’s growth. And the program works: Kids in Early Steps don’t have to play catch up once they start school — they are in line with the national average from the beginning. More important, the parents we work with feel recognized, encouraged and part of a community of people who care about the future of their children.”You can read the full post here.last_img read more

Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis will not testify next week in sexual misconduct

first_imgCanadian director Paul Haggis’ scheduled deposition will not go forward as planned next week. The Oscar-winner is facing a lawsuit in which he is accused of rape. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images) Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Haggis has denied the allegations and countersued Breest, who sued Haggis in Manhattan in December.Breest’s attorneys have asked for the deposition to be immediately rescheduled. They also criticized Lepera for requesting a settlement which was then characterized as extortion in the countersuit.Lepera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.THE CANADIAN PRESS Login/Register With:center_img Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment A scheduled deposition of Paul Haggis in a lawsuit in which the Oscar-winner is accused of rape will not go forward as planned next week.Attorneys for Haleigh Breest, a publicist who says he raped her in 2013, scheduled Haggis to give sworn testimony on Monday. But his attorney, Christine Lepera, informed her attorneys on Thursday the date didn’t work.The lawsuit, filed in December, prompted three additional women to detail to The Associated Press their own sexual misconduct accusations, including another who says he raped her. They aren’t identified in court papers.last_img read more

Husky awaits explosion investigation results before restarting asphalt refinery

first_imgCALGARY – Two months after fire and explosions ripped through its recently purchased asphalt refinery in Superior, Wis., Husky Energy Inc. says it still doesn’t know when it will be able to restart the facility.Spokesman Mel Duvall says investigations are continuing into the cause of the April 26 incident in which 11 people were injured and nearby homes evacuated while plumes of black smoke rose into the sky.He says the Calgary-based company won’t be able to fully assess damage and map out a recovery plan until the U.S. Chemical Safety Board completes its determination of cause.Husky bought the 50,000-barrel-per-day refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners of Indiana for about $570 million in a deal that closed in November.According to a website update posted Monday, cleanup efforts have progressed to the point that the off-site incident command centre has been moved onto refinery property. It says about 400 employees and contractors are supporting daily operations.As of last Friday, Husky says it has received some 3,300 claims from local businesses and residents who incurred expenses or suffered losses during the incident, of which about 2,700 have been resolved.“We do have insurance, both on the assets and business interruption, and we have made alternate arrangements to continue supplying customers. No employees have been laid off,” said Duvall in an email.“We may be able to provide an update (on costs) on our second-quarter conference call later this month.”He said all of the injured people have been released from hospital.On the website, Husky says it expects to be able to bring in trucks later this month to remove stored asphalt inventory.Companies in this story: (TSX:HSE)last_img read more