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Boy with bucket saves 35 toads from certain death

PUBLISHED: 12:15 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 11 March 2018

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

Archant

What began as a routine drive home for one Norfolk family, quickly turned into a nine-year-old’s rescue operation.

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLEKieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

Kieran Walpole, of Fulmodeston, near Fakenham, was in the car with his parents, Mark and Donna, and sister Molly, seven, when he spotted dozens of toads on the road.

Saturday night’s weather was the perfect condition for the journeying amphibians to begin migrating and saw them venture out in large numbers.

Mrs Walpole, 33, of Stibbard Road, said: “We were driving back from Dereham and it was getting dark and the toads were trying to cross the road.

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLEKieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

“Kieran suddenly shouted to his dad ‘those poor little toads, I have to rescue them’.

“He begged his dad to go outside in the dark with him.”

The All Saints Stibbard Primary pupil used a plastic bin to collect a total of 35 toads in just five minutes. He then took them home and emptied the bin in the family living room to check on their welfare.

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLEKieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

Mrs Walpole said she was unfazed at having dozens of toads leaping around her home.

“He released them in our back garden and they are hiding under our bushes,” she said.

“Some are injured and he keeps going outside to check on them.”

Kieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLEKieran Walpole, 9, of Fulmodeston, rescued 35 toads with his father Mark. Picture: DONNA WALPOLE

The young animal-lover hoped they would make their way into nearby fields where they would remain safe.

Mrs Walpole, who dubbed him a “mini Dr Dolittle”, added: “He is very much an outdoorsy boy.

“He enjoys cross country and has recently joined the North Norfolk Harriers to practise his running. He also likes swimming as is very athletic.”

Kieran and Mr Walpole plan to take up toad watch again this evening.

It is estimated that 20 tonnes of toads are killed on UK roads each year and is the main cause of their decline.

Toadwatch is a voluntary organisation and is looking for new volunteers to play a part in preventing the possible extinction of the species. The job of volunteers is to monitor likely crossing points and carry toads across the road in buckets.

- To find out more about patrols in Norfolk visit Toadwatch.org.

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