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Volunteers installing the amphibian protective fence in Ljubljana park, Source: Ljubljana Municipality/ Luka Sparl

Ljubljana has a history of helping out amphibian mating life

Ljubljana has a history of helping out amphibian mating life

The local Herpetological Society gets involved each spring

It’s spring and amphibian mating season is clearly upon us. Many people might not even be aware of that fact, however, a growing number of European cities are showing concern for the well-being of their smaller wildlife residents, too.

In the case of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, there is a volunteer society called the Herpetological Society - Societas herpetologica slovenica, which has devised a way to protect frogs and other amphibians during their migration journeys to the spawning grounds. The Society has been delivering this service for the past 14 years.

Members of the Society have erected a protective fence on the most critical section of the so-called Eternal Path (located at the Ljubljana Zoo), which makes it difficult for amphibians to cross the road. Volunteers count the amphibians who had gathered at the fence every night and then transfer them to the forest on the other side of the road, where there are several potentially suitable spawning grounds.

Learning to co-exist with wildlife in the city

The first high temperatures and precipitations encourage the frogs to embark upon their annual journey to spawning grounds, where laying and fertilizing of eggs takes place in puddles, ponds and other suitable water bodies. Along this migration, amphibians often have to cross roads and other paths used by humans and that, unfortunately, can be fatal to them.

In this area alone, an average of between 2,000 and 4,000 amphibians are transmitted each year, the record was set in 2015 - with as many as 4,500 specimens. According to the Herpetological Society, most of these are toads (at about 90%), followed by brown frogs. 

Through measures for the protection of amphibians, the volunteers contribute to the greater survival of these animals. And in case you’re wondering why this might be important to the city, frogs and other amphibians pay back the favour come summertime. Brown frogs, for example, feed on mosquito larvae, thus reducing the occurrence of these biting insects in the summer evenings.

The City of Ljubljana has also installed traffic signs along the Eternal Path and also along a bike path in the area that warn users to slow down and watch out for the frogs.

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