“We will have extinction of the Western Leopard Toad,” warns Suzie J’kul, founding member of ToadNuts, following the installation of toad information boards at Sun Valley Wetlands on Saturday 10 August.
Alison Faraday and J’kul took on saving the toads 12 years ago after finding large numbers of them on busy roads in the South Peninsula, and later found out they’re an endangered species. J’kul explains: “ToadNuts is an organisation where we save the Western Leopard Toads, and there are different facets to that. One is through information and letting people know about them. We also do road patrol. Last night (Tuesday 13 August) I picked about 30 toads in three hours.
“There is a volunteer group who does a similar thing in the mountains and it is important because roadkill is a very big threat to their species. There is also the developmental threat, so we do fundraising to protest development through their natural habitat,” she elaborates.
The Cape Agulhas and the Cape Peninsula are the only locations where these toads can be found, and it is for that reason that the group is so passionate about the conservation of the species.
Ward 61 councillor, Simon Liell-Cock attended the unveiling of the educational boards and a wetlands vegetation clean-up, along with Sun Valley Ecowatch members and residents.
“Sun Valley Ecowatch was collaborating on the project with ToadNuts. They (ToadNuts) donated the information boards that have been put up around Sun Valley about Western Leopard Toads – how they can live in your garden, among other information. The schools can also make use of them. They’re useful because people don’t usually know what to do when they find a toad in their gardens or on the road,” says Karen Kilfoil of the Sun Valley Ecowatch.
Liell-Cock attended the unveiling on behalf of the ward councillor for Sun Valley, Felicity Purchase who was unable to make it, and says he was happy to fill in as he has personal interest in the area. “I used to live right there and I know the people. We encourage the community to start doing things on a voluntary, activist basis and take ownership of the area because it’s theirs. I wanted to support them and the work they’ve done out of their own pockets and their own time,” he says.
Currently, ToadNuts has been fighting the proposed Houmoed Avenue extension proposal, in Noordhoek, which will see the road being extended through the breeding grounds of the toads and disrupt their natural lifecycle.