Reproduction of the bufotes balearicus toad or calàpet has improved immensely in the Llevant Natural Park thanks to last month’s rains.
There are not many of these rough-skinned twilight amphibians left, mostly because breeding sites in the Balearic Islands are disappearing.
Álvaro Román is one of the Technicians at Parc de Llevant who’s trying to preserve the toads.
"An annual follow-up is carried out to get an idea of its state of conservation and then we take action to promote preservation,” he says.
“The calàpet is not an autochthonous species, it probably arrived with the first inhabitants of the islands,” Román explains. “It’s closely linked to water and agriculture and lives in flat areas and according to our data, a regression has been seen in the last 40 years as a result of the disappearance of the water points where the calàpet breeds. It is a species that is about to become extinct in Ibiza and Majorca.”
Róman says they are always on the lookout for new breeding grounds for the toad.
“We have seven water points where we know that it breeds and there are other points that may also work for them,” he says. The Calàpet breeds during the first months of the year and although there has been less rain this year, March was very wet so that has helped reproduction.”
Amphibians are a particularly vulnerable group worldwide and they’re already extinct in some areas, because of climate change and infections.
The number one priority in Amphibian Conservation is the Majorcan midwife toad or Alytes muletensis, which is also known as the ferreret. It’s best-known habitat was the Serra de Tramuntana and it has also thrived in Parc de Llevant since it was reintroduced there in 2012.
"We looked for the right habitats and since the species was introduced it has gone very well, little by little they have been reproducing and we have not detected any problems,” says Román. The were put in a specific place that worked, then added to other, similar habitats and they have adapted really well.”
In 2012, 72 larvae were taken from a Tramuntana stream and deposited in Parc de Llevant, then more were added every year. In 2015 they started to breed and by 2017, there were 500 larvae and 40 adults.
The water snake, which was introduced to the Balearic Islands in Roman times and fungus infections are the biggest threat to the toad and Technicians are doing all they can to make sure they are protected.