Frogspawn warning from wildlife trust

WILDLIFE experts are urging the public not to “dump” frogspawn from their garden ponds into the wild - because of the risk of spreading disease and introducing invasive non-native plants.

By David Green

WILDLIFE experts are urging the public not to “dump” frogspawn from their garden ponds into the wild - because of the risk of spreading disease and introducing invasive non-native plants.

The appeal follows several incidents where spawn has been deposited on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust's “flagship” nature reserve at Carlton Marshes, near Lowestoft.

Police have been informed because the dumping of spawn in the wild is against the law.


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People transferring spawn from “overloaded” garden ponds often believe they are doing wildlife a good turn but the practice can transfer disease and non-native plants which swamp indigenous species, including rarities.

One of the biggest risks is of spreading a disease called red leg which has already taken a hold among the frog population in the south of England.

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“So far there have been only a few isolated reports here in Suffolk but the symptoms are ugly, including blistering and the eventual rotting of the creatures' fingers and toes,” said Catriona Finlayson, Carlton Marshes education officer.

“Once established the disease spreads quickly and provides another obstacle to survival for our common frog, already declining due to habitat loss,” she said.

One of the dangers of transferring material from garden ponds into the wild is the spread of an invasive plant called New Zealand stonecrop.

Sold by some nurseries, this “alien” aquatic plant quickly swamps a pond at the expense of all other species and is difficult and costly to control.

Froglife, a national organisation trying to help frogs, toads, newts and other creatures which depend on ponds, is also warning about the dangers of spawn dumping.

It is pointing out that for every 2,000 eggs laid, only an average of five will make into the wild as adult frogs.

“If people just can't live with a garden pond full of spawn it should be transferred to another garden pond within 1,000 metres of the original site. It should never to be moved to a wild area,” said a Froglife spokesman.

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