[WARNING: Article contains graphic imagery]
Frog Friends Helderberg, a group lobbying for the conservation of frogs, said more can be done when it comes to migration during rainfall.
This is after thousands of Common Platanna frogs (Xenopus laevis) were flattened by motorists following a mass frog dispersal that occurred on Monday evening.
The frogs crossed the R44 from Paardevlei towards the dam at The Sanctuary Shopping Centre in Somerset West.
Don Marx, a volunteer at Frog Friends Helderberg and Marine Scientist, said that he, along with residents, saved thousands of frogs while thousands of them were killed by motorists.
“When I arrived there I was quite shocked to see the amount of frogs. It seems to be all juvenile frogs trying to find their own ponds.
“We were using makeshift buckets and scoops that we made of water bottles. It’s the first time I saw juvenile frogs,” he says.
The Common Platanna is a locally indigenous species to the Western Cape and Cape Town and is not a threatened species and can be very common in any suitable habitat.
Don said that a few drivers had no respect regardless of seeing that they were attempting to protect the frogs.
“Seeing tens and thousands of dead frogs in the road and having people race through and not slow down. Seeing the total disconnect and disregard for nature is quite sad.”
Yesterday, both lines of the R44 were covered with frog remains and stench could be smelled from metres away.
Elma Pollard, Frog Friends Helderberg said that they have been trying to find a solution regarding these “massacres”.
“We have had meetings with the City because our first idea was to have these tunnels under the ground, however, we found out that the cost was expensive,” she said.
“You have to understand that this whole area was wetlands before man came along and built the R44.”
Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment Eddie Andrews said more details are needed around the migration and the motivation for the migration in order to address the challenges as mentioned.
“That said, an underpass could allow fauna movement across the R44; or as an alternative, to rather create a suitable, natural waterbody within a safe precinct on the same side of the road so that there is no need for the frogs to migrate,” he said.
“The frog movement on the evening of the 29th can certainly be attributed to some much-needed rain. Summer rainfall events often trigger frog movements.”
According to Andrews, the motivation for the migration must be investigated and confirmed before this could be done.
“Still, all indigenous frogs are protected under the Conservation Ordinance and a permit for capture and transport would be needed from CapeNature,” he said.