A tree felling operation at a former curling pond in Monikie has been blamed for wiping out a local population of amphibians.
A toad patrol which up until now has saved thousands of creatures every year during spawning season has now been stood down after countryside rangers declared there was “little point” in continuing.
It a fresh twist, it has now emerged that the site owners have applied for their company to be struck off and dissolved after being hit with a 10-year enforcement notice.
Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey said: “These figures are proof of the impact that the act of environmental vandalism which occurred at the pond has had.
“It wasn’t just an amenity woodland that was decimated but the biodiversity the site supported.
“I share entirely the anger felt by the local community.”
Forestry Commission Scotland previously said the operational works undertaken at the site in January by Ayrshire-based Avancan Property Management were “exceptional” and likely to have had “significant effects on the environment”.
The firm was told to prepare a 10-year plan of maintenance measures to restore the land and replant trees in response to an enforcement notice by Forestry Commission Scotland following its investigation.
Monikie Country Park countryside ranger Tim Caselton said there have been good numbers of toads and frogs spawning at nearby Crombie Country Park.
He said: “I think it would be safe to say that we are not going to see any amphibian surge to our pond.
“With so few animals being rescued off the road by our volunteers compared to previous year’s numbers I am sad to say it is increasingly looking like the devastation of the curling pond has wiped out our local population of amphibians that use the Denfind pond for spawning.
“As a result there seems little point in the rangers continuing to patrol the site.”
The toad patrol would have been officially reinstated if volunteers observed a sudden increase in amphibian movement.
But resident patrollers said it looks as if around 200 have been collected “if we are lucky” which was described as “very worrying”.
In the two previous years there were 1,197 and 1,171 collected at what Forestry Commission Scotland has said was “an important habitat for amphibians including common toads, frogs and palmate newts”.
Villager Rae Gray said: “I know the weather hasn’t helped things but the amphibians are spawning up at Crombie Park so there is more to it than the weather.
“It is all very worrying.”
Avancan director Billy McTeir — who previously denied the work had caused a significant impact on amphibians — said he couldn’t comment as the matter is in the hands of the company’s lawyers.