Toad out of the hole
In recent years, Tierpark Berlin has reintroduced many Berlin-born animals into their natural habitats in countries as far flung as Spain, Romania and Mongolia. But the Tierpark doesn’t only champion conservation efforts abroad – it also helps threatened species here at home.
This spring, first and second-year trainee animal keepers at Tierpark Berlin took on a special challenge: to rescue a group of European green toads from a construction site in nearby Lichtenberg and give them a new home in the green expanses of the Tierpark. The evacuated amphibians, which had fallen into a pit and were unable to escape, were taken to a quarantine station at Tierpark Berlin along with a large number of tadpoles and quantities of toad spawn. “European green toads develop very quickly from larvae into toadlets,” reports Vanessa Buchwald, a first-year trainee keeper. “We watched them progress through every stage in their metamorphosis. It takes around 30 days for an egg to turn into a juvenile toad.”
In Germany, European green toads are a threatened species and strictly protected by law. Their vulnerable status is due to the lack of suitable spawning waters and the destruction of their preferred habitats for agriculture or urban expansion.
“Today we gave around 500 large and small toads a new home at Tierpark Berlin,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “Alongside many other wild animal species that run free at the Tierpark, they will enrich the biodiversity of our large park. Here, the rare toads have an ideal environment in which to go forth and multiply. There are many spots in the Tierpark that offer them the perfect living conditions – with plenty of water and sunshine.”