The world’s most endangered vertebrate is in jeopardy, and thus we risk a loss of some 250 million years of rich history in a matter of decades. 

Though it may not seem the case, toads have lived on our planet since long before even the age of dinosaurs. They have survived some of the harshest periods of our Earth’s history. And yet, in recent decades, they have come under the threat of extinction. 

Some 200 species have completely disappeared since 1980; an alarming statistic to say the least. Even now, amphibians remain the vertebrate group most threatened with extinction. 

Whilst there certainly are other major issues that toads face internationally – that of chytridiomycosis or ranavirus – toads on the Island are instead subject to very different threats. 

I was lucky enough to be able to gain some insight into these issues from Paul White, a resident who volunteers to help the toads on the Island: ‘For toads on the Island the biggest threat is actually habitat loss’. 

However, Paul’s main work is volunteering at the local ‘toad crossing’, where another threat to the toads lies: the roads. 

During the late winter and early spring, toads return to the pond in which they were spawned. They follow the same route year after year, meaning that year after year their journey becomes increasingly dangerous, having to cross countless roads to reach their breeding ponds. 

According to, nearly 11,000 toads were killed from road crossings last year alone; well over double that of 2009’s figures. 

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed certain signs appearing on roads across the Island, warning you of toads crossing. Although it may seem insignificant, these signs have been put in place to warn drivers of the danger they pose to these little creatures as they make their annual journey. 

However, the Island’s ‘toad crossings’ are in dire need of assistance.  

Despite the hard work of Paul and the other volunteers, they can still only manage to support one of the crossings, even though there are eight others located across the Island; unmanned. 

My interview with Paul made me realise the sheer scope of this issue, and the sheer lack of help there is to try and mitigate these risks posed towards toads. If you’re looking to help, you can contact Paul for more info at 

Besides volunteering at a toad crossing in your local area, there are also other easier ways to help. Amongst the suggestions I was given were putting a pond in your garden and quite simply taking more care on the roads.

Our world today is becoming so inhospitable to creatures that have managed to survive here for millions of years, and thus this issue, whilst greatly important in its own right, is but a clear indicator for much greater world issues.

‘The world has gotten so bad now that even the amphibians can’t tolerate it.’ – Joseph Mendelson, Zoo Atlanta.