19,200 tiny fire-bellied toads will be released as part of the project. In 2018 about 2,600 toads were released.
Spawn from both sides of the river Elbe were collected from various water bodies within the Biosphere Reserve River Elbe Valley Lower Saxony. The water bodies had a high water level and due to some already very warm days at the end of April, the toad had good and fairly numerous breeding places.
The spawn was transferred to the Amphi International breeding station in the District of Lüchow-Dannenberg. Due to the warm summer, the tadpoles developed very fast and at the beginning of June the first already metamorphosed and were ready to inhabit their new habitat.
The fire-bellied toad is comparatively frequent in the biosphere reserve, however also here a strong decline has been observed over the last years. For this reason, large areas have been developed for the benefit of the fire-bellied toad. Natural colonisation of these areas by the already locally present toads was not expected, as the existing populations only have a few individuals.
In 2018 fire bellied toads were released in three places in the biosphere reserve.
The populations from which the spawn is taken are also protected, because at least 10% of the removed eggs are brought back to the place of collection once fully metamorphosed. Such a high percentage does generally not survive in the wild.
This method is used to stop the decline of the fire-bellied toad in the
biosphere reserve and to reverse the trend of decline.
Image: Florian Bibelriether, metamorphosed fire bellied-toads immediately before release