Frogs need a helping hand across the road

02-04-2002

Every year at around about this time thousands of frogs migrate to an appropriate breeding ground -and endanger their lives in the process. In some 200 locations in the Czech Republic this annual migration leads across a busy road and an estimated twenty percent of the frog population is killed by motorists. In many areas of the country environmentalists are thinking of ways around this problem -and it is not always easy. In some cases there is no alternative but to give the frogs "a helping hand" - across the road. In other words, to put up a barrier , collect dozens of frogs every evening and carry them across the road in buckets. Jan Pivecka has been doing this for years in the Slavicin region of south-east Moravia and he explains why he considers it so important.

"They are endangered because if we do not take care about them, they would be overrun by trucks on the roads because they need to cross the roads. We have saved so far approximately eleven, twelve thousand frogs. They need twenty minutes to cross the road and we have calculated that during these twenty minutes, some 60 or 70 percent of them could be killed. When we save them, we are saving an very important part of our environment. And this is part of our life. You asked whether they are endangered species, every species is endangered. We, humans, are also endangered. So, we have to protect something which is part of our environment. And the frogs are needed in our forest because they eat insects. Frogs also indicate the cleanliness of water because they would never lay eggs in water which is not clean. And storks which are also endangered species, eat frogs. This is the life circle in the nature."

So you are helping these frogs manually, hove long have you been doing it?

"For ten years."

For ten years, is there no other, no better way to do this? An underpass or something

"There is a very simple way, to build a very simple tunnel under the road, it is very very simple, not too costly. But we do not find understanding with the local administration and with the road maintenance authority and therefore we are doing it manually. We also print postcards with a stork eating a frog and we are saying 'don't give up, never give up'."

I understand you are being helped by primary school children

"This is something which we have discovered: we can educate children to protect the environment and you cannot imagine how glad the children are and how happy they are when they can go out in the evening with parents or with teachers to a forest and they are taking them and bringing them across the road in a basket. I tell you, I would like to have a tunnel under the road, but we would lose the direct contact with the nature, and we are not so unhappy as we should be."

02-04-2002