ENGLAND– Why did the toads cross the road? Because one woman made sure they could! Read how Helen Hobbs spends six weeks of every year on toad patrol, guiding thousands of toads, frogs, and newts safely across the road in Bath, England. Cheers to a woman who values all life, hip-hopping or not. She holds a torch for them – and perhaps they hold a torch for her. – Global Animal
The Bath Chronicle
A woman from Bath who has saved the lives of thousands of toads, newts and frogs by helping them cross a busy road has received international recognition.
Helen Hobbs, 62, is the co-ordinator of the Charlcombe Lane Toad Patrol scheme and for the past 12 years has spent most of her spring nights out with a bucket and a torch to assist the amphibians in her area of the city.
The patrol operates every evening during the six-week migration period and makes sure the creatures travel safely over the road and onwards to their breeding lake.
This year the group of volunteers saved an estimated 4,485 amphibians and the rescue rate has steadily increased since they started keeping records seven years ago, when they counted 839.
Grandmother Mrs Hobbs has now had her hard work recognised and is receiving a conservation award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords.
She was due to pick up her prize at the Animal Action Awards ceremony today, along with Queen guitarist Brian May who was honoured for his campaigning against hunting.
She said: “I was very surprised but very pleased to win the award.
“I would also like to give credit to the dedicated team of volunteers who turn out, often in dark and wet weather, to rescue the amphibians.”
Mrs Hobbs’ patrol has proved so successful and popular that Bath and North East Somerset Council has introduced a regular temporary road closure to through traffic during the busiest crossing period so the volunteers can carry out their work in relative safety.
The group’s work, along with the road closure, has been credited as the main reason for the drop in the mortality rate of toads at the site.
Robbie Marsland, the UK director of IFAW, said Mrs Hobbs’s award was well deserved.
He said: “We are very pleased to be able to reward Helen’s amazing dedication to protecting toads, frogs and newts over so many years and wanted to recognise her outstanding contribution to animal welfare with our Conservation Award.”
For more information about the toad patrol, go to www.froglife.org