Frog ladders

While conservation research is the main focus of the lab, getting dirty and applying conservation practices is also important, especially for pilot project.

The Korean landscape is heavily marked by deep water drainage ditches used to flood rice paddies, and these drainage ditches generally turn into death sentence to amphibians that become trapped. This problem has been acknowledged in the past, and some mitigation measure are implemented, but generally not in line with the behaviour of the species, and rarely used.

Escape ramps from drainage ditches, with a dried frog (Rana sp.) on the front right of the image as it did not find the ramps.

This mismatch was repeatedly noted, and recently a new type of escape ladder was trialed, after showing a marked success in the UK. This earlier project was organised in coordination with citizens and generated widespread interest by several environmental groups.

As a result, the lab was involved in providing scientific guidelines to the Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea, local branches of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement and Goseong County to install frog ladders in Songjeong-Ri, Goseong, to help amphibians escape from drainage ditches. Three types of ladders were trialed, taking into account access by amphibians and water flow disruption so that ditches would not be removed by excavators cleaning the drains.

Frog ladders installed for amphibians to escape water drainage ditches.

Ladders were installed towards rice fields for amphibians migrating towards their breeding habitat to be able to escape, and towards the forest so that migration towards the hibernation habitat would not be blocked. The results of the three type of ladders installed will be compared, and Goseong County pledged to install more of the successful type.

Applied conservation at work! Some press released followed the event, follow these links [1], [2], [3] for more (in Korean).

An individual Pelophylax nigromaculatus (Black-spotted frog) trapped in a water drainage ditch at the site.

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