Leopard Toads share Clovelly Course with Golfers.

2017 Aug 04 Pond 14b Toad am plexus at ClovellyLeopard Toads share Clovelly Course with Golfers. Or more accurately, the endangered Western Leopard Toads love the water features the golfers aim to avoid.   Bordered almost entirely by Table Mountain water feature colvelly golf courseNational Park, Clovelly Golf Course nestled in the Silvermine Valley is blessed with abundant water features and is visited by a variety of indigenous fauna.  The natural setting provides golfers with a tranquil space to pursue their sport away from the hectic pace of city life.

During the height of the Leopard Toad breeding season the golf course is anything but tranquil.  While golfers can hear the thrumming calls of male toads from popular ponds, the real action takes place at night.  The 2017 breeding season at Clovelly and along the Silvermine River that flows past the golf course, has just started. The males arrive first and in far larger numbers than the females.  Although the season is only a few days old, a number of females have already arrived at favourite ponds and paired up to lay eggs.

Mating toads with strings of eggs.

Mating toads with strings of eggs.

The strikingly patterned Leopard Toads were once common in the Cape Peninsula. Today they are endangered. Urbanization has replaced or polluted many of their natural habitats and roads are particularly deadly obstacles.  In contrast the Clovelly Golf Course has become an increasingly important breeding site.

Without Toads we all croak!

Leopard toads are part of our natural heritage and local biodiversity.  Biodiversity is synonymous with having natural capital that provides a range of survival options – not just for toads. While we do not know all the roles they play in Nature, we do know they are natural insect control agents and because of their sensitivity to pollution, toads are important indicators of a healthy eco-system.

Leopard toads with strands of dark eggs in a Clovelly golf course pond

Leopard toads with strands of dark eggs in a Clovelly golf course pond

Their presence in the plant beds and the water features of the golf course is an eco-stamp of approval for management at Clovelly.  Unlike frogs which live in water, toads live on land. Once a year in late winter they migrate from their foraging grounds in gardens and natural veld to breeding ponds to lay eggs.  On windless nights the calls of expectant males is as loud as a bikers rally and can be heard throughout much of Clovelly.

 

 

 

 

Kim Kruyshaar 05 August 2017

Leopard Toad Conservation Co-ordinator for Clovelly

Photo of toads with lily pads by Heidi Straw.

 

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8 Responses to Leopard Toads share Clovelly Course with Golfers.

  1. Kathryn Kruyshaar August 7, 2017 at 6:50 am #

    Lovely article. Thank you

    • Eugenie August 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Beautifully written, thank you.

  2. Derek Meek August 7, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Thanks for a great article

    • cilla bromley August 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      Clever you! Superb photos and great text! Thanks Kim

  3. Liesbet Joubert August 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm #

    Beautiful pictures and article! I found diagram to show various stages of development of toad eggs.

    https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/images/thumb/9/9b/Rugh_005.jpg/600px-Rugh_005.jpg

    I think those eggs are in cleavage stages and it will be interesting to watch them for a while to record all the stages they undergo. Hope you don’t mind if I use that photograph in reproduction ppt as it shows the cleavage furrow so clearly.

  4. Diana Studer August 7, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    Does enough water reach the Silvermine River to keep it healthy (after irrigating the golf course)?

    • admin August 7, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

      Can’t give you an answer based on fact right now. The management explained that they use ground water in summer extracted from boreholes of varying depths and river flow in Winter. The river did stop flowing below the golf course this summer but it is hard to say or prove that it was because of extraction by the golf course because the flow past the golf course was weak toward the end of summer. There is also extensive and thirsty alien vegetation including phragmites australis (reeds) abutting the lower section of the golf course and between it and the Silvermine wetlands. But good news! Province has initiated a study by private consultants of the water used by golf courses in the Western Cape. Clovelly Country Club has already been approached by an engineering consultant who will be examining their extraction rates from the Silvermine River as well as the groundwater and to determine extraction rates that include the river’s ecological needs.

    • admin August 7, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

      Can’t give you an answer based on fact right now. The management explained that they use ground water in summer extracted from boreholes of varying depths and river flow in Winter. The river did stop flowing below the golf course this summer but it is hard to say or prove that it was because of extraction by the golf course because the flow past the golf course was weak toward the end of summer. There is also extensive and thirsty alien vegetation including phragmites australis (reeds) abutting the lower section of the golf course and between it and the Silvermine wetlands. But good news! Province has initiated a study by private consultants of the water used by golf courses in the Western Cape. Clovelly Country Club has already been approached by an engineering consultant who will be examining their extraction rates from the Silvermine River as well as the groundwater and to determine extraction rates that include the river’s ecological needs.

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