Pond payments on offer to keep native toads in the hole
Posted by Miqe on November 13, 2007
Farmers are being offered annual payments to dig shallow ponds for the threatened Natterjack toad, Ireland’s only toad species .
The nocturnal raucous toad — he comes to life at night and his voice is among the loudest animal noises in Europe — is now confined to Castlemaine Harbour, the Castlegregory and Fermoyle areas of the Dingle Peninsula, and isolated sites near Caherdaniel on the Iveragh peninsula in Co Kerry.
The scheme to encourage the toad into the hole is confined to specified zones.
Some €500 per pond is on offer to farmers and around two ponds per hectare will be needed, with bonus payments if more hectares are involved. Potentially, farmers could earn up to €4,200 a year for the ponds in a given year as part of a five-year scheme to restore habitats and boost toad numbers.
It is being managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Food.
“The beauty about this scheme is farmers don’t need to be in the REPS (Rural Environmental Protection Scheme) to be eligible to apply, although they will have to follow a plan,” Pat Foley, deputy regional manager of the NPWS said.
He expects around 100 Kerry farmers to participate and site visits are currently being arranged by the NPWS. The scheme will have to be planned with a wildlife ranger and NPWS planner.