According to the Hungarian News Agency (MTI), the frog rescue begun with landscaping and fence raising on the 20th of February in Farmos, Pest. As many as 60,000 frogs could be saved in the process.
Zsuzsanna Bitter, vice president of the Jane Goodall Institute told the MTI: “The Institute is contributing to the work of the Danube-Ipoly National Park, the organiser of the event.”
The location of the rescue is road 311, which separates the frogs’ winter home and breeding grounds. The road has a 1,5-2 kilometre long critical section where animals are crossing in great numbers.
At the beginning of spring a continuous, knee-high foil fence is raised here, beside which 70 buckets are planted into the ground. The frogs fall into these at dawn and are collected and transported across the road and the railways tracks to a marsh suitable for breeding, where they are freed.
“This year, due to weather conditions, the fence is raised a week earlier than usual,” explained Zsuzsanna Bitter, “If there is no frost for 5-6 consecutive days, the frogs begin their crossing.”
Students and families alike can join the program; the organisers are expecting over 2,000 participants over the course of one and a half months.
The Institute’s employee added that 99% of the animals they save are common spadefoot toads, but sometimes the number of Danube crested newts and fire-bellied toads is higher than usual. The number of rescued frogs largely depends on the weather: in wet years, it can be as high as 60,000, in other years only a few thousand. The average is around 20-30,000 animals per season.
“The fence is dismantled after one and a half months so as not to obstruct the migration of other animals,” added Zsuzsanna Bitter.