British Columbia

'Toadvisory' issued for Whistler area as toadlets migrate

The migration of tens of thousands of tiny Western toads, or “toadlets,” begins this week as the dime-sized amphibians continue their biologically-driven quest from Lost Lake into the surrounding forest area.

Watch your feet while walking or biking the trails near Lost Lake, says municipality

The Resort Municipality of Whistler has put in special measures to protect thousands of western toads, which are migrating from Lost Lake. (Resort Municipality of Whistler Communications)

The migration of tens of thousands of tiny Western toads, or "toadlets," begins this week as the dime-sized amphibians continue their biologically-driven quest from Lost Lake into the surrounding forest area.

Every spring, about 50 of the toads lay hundreds of thousands of eggs along the shores of the lake, resulting in a black cloud of tadpoles when they hatch several weeks later.

A Western Toad from Whistler poses next to a loonie to show its relative size. (Resort Municipality of Whistler)

Once they sprout arms and legs in July and August the toadlets are on the move towards the forest surrounding the lake.

Fencing, signs and an underpass have been installed to help protect breeding and tadpole habitats.  

The migration route can vary, some years the toadlets follow fencing and a tunnel into the forest.

For reasons unknown, this year the toads are blazing their own trail and have set out across the Valley Trail, a parking lot and Lost Lake Road, according to a press release from Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).

"Jumping along, sometimes they stop and look around, sometimes they turn around the way they came from which is not good, but they carry on until they get into the forest," said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm Mordan.

Watch your step

The beach at Lost Lake Park along with the grassy area, parking lot and Lost Lake Road are closed to protect the "toadlets" and the RMOW asks that visitors take care when biking and walking on trails.

Volunteers will be available to direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic, while RMOW environmental technicians supervise the little creatures as they make the trek to the forest.

Whistler Transit will also be re-routing the free Lost Lake shuttle to Lakeside Park to avoid the migration.

RMOW has been monitoring the Western toads since 2005 as part of a larger bio-monitoring program, which focuses on species that provide an insight into the greater health of Whistler's ecosystems such as pileated woodpeckers, beavers, vegetation plots.

Western toads are protected under the BC Wildlife Act.

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