Chinese toad which survived voyage to South Africa inside candlestick lives to croak another day

Just two hours before an Asian common toad was destined for the “hangman’s noose” in South Africa, he was saved after being accepted at a sanctuary in Johannesburg. The young toad, named Jack by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, started his long journey from China months ago and has now found fame and hopped his way into the hearts of Capetonians. Brett Glasby, the manager of the SPCA’s wildlife unit, said he received a call from retailer Mr Price that a frog’s leg was sticking out of a candlestick holder.

“Their staff called us and they carefully broke the candlestick and removed the toad. Toads are designed to survive droughts and he is still a youngster that will grow.” He added that the toad could have been confined inside the candlestick for one to three months. “We are a short-term wildlife facility that treats animals and then moves them. So after treating animals we have to contact Cape Nature, who decide where (they) go.

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“Because there was a risk of pathogens being introduced to frogs of the Western Cape, instruction came from Cape Nature to put the toad down because it could not be released into the wild.” Toads and frogs are vulnerable to pathogens and parasites. But Jack was spared after the Monte Casino Bird Gardens agreed to take him in. He will first go through a quarantine process and will then be released into a climate-controlled enclosure next to related toads.

Allan Perrins, spokesman at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, said Jack will be personally escorted. “He has a specialised carrier that will be used to transport him. We even had someone who came forward and offered to fly the toad back to China … we did consider it, but were afraid the toad would croak and not survive the trip. You won’t believe how this toad has crept into Capetonians’ hearts.” Glasby will accompany Jack on a Mango flight to Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport.