Perthshire Wildlife Kerbs win Conservation Award

The surveys themselves were prompted by observations of trapped wildlife (mainly amphibians such as frogs and toads) made while drain maintenance was being carried out.

Toad Sign Image: By Man vyi (own photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Specially designed kerbs have been introduced in the Perthshire town of Blairgowrie, in an effort to prevent the deaths of hundreds of animals. The kerbs, piloted in Elm Drive, contain a recess that allows them to keep clear of the drains by following the edge of the kerb.

The introduction of the kerbs is the result of road surveys that have been conducted by Perth and Kinross Council since 2010, in order to find out exactly how many animals are washed down the drains, and how frequently. The surveys themselves were prompted by observations of trapped wildlife (mainly amphibians such as frogs and toads) made while drain maintenance was being carried out.

In 2010, 322 road gullies were checked, 69% of which contained wildlife comprising of 641 amphibians and 56 mammals, including voles, mice and shrews. In 2011, 636 gullies were checked, with 63% containing wildlife, including 114 mammals, and an incredible 1,087 amphibians. These figures worried Perth and Kinross Council, and highlighted how hazardous the gullies are – once an animal is trapped, the chances of it escaping or surviving for a long time are remote. The gullies are particularly dangerous when animals are moving in large numbers, such as during the breeding season or as they prepare for hibernation periods. In 2011, the majority of frogs, newts and toads were found in gullies less than 500m from a breeding pond, therefore the drains really could have a huge impact on their local populations.

Wildlife rangers have been monitoring the pilot site in order to determine the benefits to the local wildlife. But in the meantime, the animal rights charity PETA UK (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has honoured the new wildlife friendly kerbs by awarding Perth and Kinross Council with a Proggy Award. These awards are handed out every year in recognition of people, companies and products for their innovative and animal-friendly achievements, with categories ranging from science to entertainment.

Hopefully, this prestigious award will encourage other councils throughout the country to follow the wildlife friendly example set by Perth and Kinross Council, and many more animals will be spared from death by drain.

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