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Frog numbers in Switzerland have experienced a major increase in recent years.

That’s thanks to the digging of hundreds of additional ponds, the BBC reported.

The project began in the Aargau canton in 1999, when conservationists and local officials decided to take action over declining amphibian populations. One of the main concerns was the collapse of the European tree frog, a species known for its mobility – it travels for miles – and its habitat of shallow ponds created by meandering rivers on floodplains.

Authorities, non-profit groups and private landowners decided to dig more than 400 new ponds in five regions over 20 years. The previous ponds were inhospitable for some amphibian species because they lacked space and had too many predators.

Following their initiative, a new study showed that the conservation efforts gave the amphibians more space and boosted their numbers: More than half of the eight endangered species increased their regional populations, while 32 percent stabilized.

The tree frog also saw its numbers quadruple in one area: In 1999, it could only be found at 16 sites in the Reusstal region, but by 2019, the species was found to be living in 77 sites.

Amphibian numbers worldwide have been declining as a result of various factors, such as habitat loss, urbanization and invasive species.

Lead author Helen Moor noted that this simple solution could have a major impact on other species. She hopes this conservation success will convince other landowners to create ponds and diversify habitats.

“The key message is that it pays to do something, even if it feels overwhelming,” she said.

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