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Talking toads on Haida Gwaii

Researcher to share the latest on protecting Haida Gwaii’s only native amphibian

It’s time to talk toads.

Roseanna Gamlen-Greene, a PhD student at UBC, is giving a talk called “Amphibians on Haida Gwaii: Frogs, bogs and beyond” at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at the Delkatla Nature Centre in Masset.

Supported by National Geographic, Gamlen-Greene is currently trying to find and protect local breeding sites for Haida Gwaii’s only native amphibian, the Western toad. Listed as a species of special concern across B.C., it may be in decline on Haida Gwaii.

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Islanders can help by emailing Gamlen-Greene photos or known locations of the toads, which give her clues for the most likely water bodies to search for breeding sites.

Last week, with help from a trio of Gwaii Haanas staff volunteers, Gamlen-Greene found a breeding site full of Western toad tadpoles in a slough near the Chown River / Tsaawun, which brought the number of known sites to eight. She hopes to find more, and to have community volunteers help protect them.

On Sunday afternoon, after everyone carefully treated their gumboots and nets as a precaution against contamination, a group of local families set out with a canoe to check it out.

“Usually, within about a 30-kilometre radius, you’ll only have one breeding site for all the toads,” said Gamlen-Greene, noting that they return to the same spot.

“That’s why knowing the location of these breeding sites is so key,” she said. “If we don’t know where they are, we can’t protect them.”

To contact Gamlen-Greene, email