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The movements and breeding site fidelity of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in an urban park near Paris (France) with management recommendations

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The isolation of animal populations due to urban activities provides a useful framework for studying the consequences of landscape fragmentation. We studied a population of natterjack toads (Bufo calamita) in an urban park near Paris, France. In 2001 and 2002 we used radio-tracking to estimate the terrestrial movements of adults around their breeding sites. Twenty-four toads were equipped with internal transmitters in 2001 to record movements during and after the breeding period. In 2002, 19 males were released at 300 and 380 meters from their breeding ponds. Natterjack toad movements around and outside their breeding ponds were reduced compared to previous observations on this species. The only exchanges that were observed occurred between closely neighbouring breeding sites. During a translocation experiment in 2002, 58% of the displaced males returned to their site of capture and this happened mainly during the breeding period. The remaining 42% stayed close to the release site. There was no exchange of males between distant breeding sites. Natterjack toad conservation needs to take into account the high fidelity to a breeding site and the reduced breeding dispersal and homing ability of these animals. Conservation biology in urban landscapes constitutes a specific urban ecology with specific concepts such as 'population area'. Information from this study can assist land managers in establishing protected areas of high habitat quality around breeding ponds in urban areas, and managing parks for the protection of amphibian populations, particularly by facilitating exchanges between available areas.


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