Quest University Student Alicia Saunders is doing her Keystone Project on the Western Toad migrations at Alice Lake Provincial Park. Alicia will monitor the toads as they metamorphose in the lake and then begin their exodus into the forest.
The project is sponsored by BC Parks and SES is supporting her efforts by using our media resources and outreach to engage citizen scientists interested in participating.
The Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) is a large toad species, between 5.6 and 13 cm long, native to western North America. A. boreas is frequently encountered during the wet season on roads, or near water at other times.
Western Toad migrations are often a mass exodus of dime-sized toadlets hopping across trails. Life is challenging as they avoid predation and being squished by unsuspecting hikers and mountain bikes. Western Toads are listed federally as a “Species of Special Concern” as they are sensitive to habitat loss, pollution, invasive species and climate change. The chytrid fungus can be especially devastating if introduced into an aquatic ecosystem.
Photo by Alicia Saunders: “On July 8, I checked Fawn Lake briefly and I found one tadpole in some flooded spagnum moss along the NE shore. He was very light in colour and had big healthy back legs. No sign of front legs or that the tail was shortened. I predict that that tadpole will be out within the month.”