Amphibian spring migrations

Scriptorium is located on the fertile plains east of the river Mura. Although the entire watershed of the river has been altered in the last century by extensive hydrotechnical works, and the majority of the land has been ceded to agriculture, there are still pockets and bands of swamps and marshes inhabited by rich and unique fauna and flora. Every spring, beginning in late February or early March, amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), who spend the winter dormant in isolated patches of forest between the fields, begin their migration to the oxbow lakes and ponds where they spawn. In their path, they frequently encounter roads where they are run over by traffic by the thousands and tens of thousands. In the past decade, a substantial drop in the size of some populations has been observed and others have disappeared altogether. My role is to walk the road on rainy nights, pick up the animals trying to cross it and carry them safely to the other side. In the nine years that I have been doing this, more than 40 volunteers have joined me in these efforts on just one critical location. However, there are only a handful of people in the whole region who have held steadfast for all these years and do what we can on the most critical segments, sometimes not being able to save more than one tenth of the animals. Last year, we finally started receiving attention from the responsible state institutions and have offered expert monitoring services of migrating amphibians, their reproduction and their habitats. These surveys are designed to establish the main corridors of amphibian migrations that form the basis for permanent road construction amendments, such as wildlife bridges and tunnels. We also work closely with educators and offer engaging field trips to elementary and high school students. (Photo: Franc Kosi)