We are so HAPPY to announce there was an increase in Sonora Desert Toad populations at our ranch and the surrounding area this summer!
In celebration, I have created a timeline to show the conservation we have done on our ranch in Northern Sonora.
Conservation Timeline & Notes:
-2018, Gerry purchased a piece of land in Northern Sonora. Construction of toad pools began immediately.
-2019, July 19- The toad pools were completed and filled with water. Gerry visited the ranch and harvested medicine for the upcoming year.
-2019, August 10 - Gerry received a call from a neighbor by the ranch. A pickup truck came through and kidnapped 2 trash bags full of adult toads.
-2020 No conservation work or collecting was done due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
-2021, July 22 - Gerry, Kate and Chris arrived in Sonora to collect medicine but there were very few toads. Yeri was hired to live and work on the ranch. The day after Gery, Kate, and Chris left, there was a shift in power in the town. The whole town shut down for 3 days because of gunfire. After the change in power, people in the town asked Yeri to leave.
-2022, May - Construction of a 9ft wall around the ranch begins. The toad pools were filled at the end of June and were utilized by the toads. There were so many tadpoles in the pools! Garter snakes, frogs, and other types of toads were removed from the property because they kept eating the tadpoles.
-2022, July 15- Kate arrived first. She spent one week documenting the toads before the medicine was collected for the year. Both toad pools were filled with tadpoles. One pool had significantly less algae than the other because it received more fresh water. Adding freshwater to the pools is critical to make sure they do not get too hot for the tadpoles. More tadpoles were noted in the pool with less algae.
-July 20 - Gerry, Paul, and Rene arrived at the ranch. Medicine is collected at the ranch and surrounding areas. There was an increase in toad populations from the previous year. Many juvenile toads were seen.
-2022, September - Unreported World and Strg_F both come to the ranch to film documentaries on psychedelic toads.
Construction on the wall stopped due to disagreements with the workers and lack of $ to complete it. Unfortunately, the remaining bricks to complete the wall were left out and stolen from the property.
-2023, April - Kate arrived at the ranch to meet with new workers. Construction continued for two weeks and then stopped again due to disagreements with the workers.
-2023, May - Gerry and Kate arrived at the ranch to serve medicine at an event.
The ranch was completely overrun with Datura weeds. The land is cleared and the datura plants are burned.
-2023, July 5 - Kate arrived at the ranch and filled the toad pools. Kate and the neighborhood kids took 4 toads from the neighbor's house and put them in the full pools. Two toads immediately started mating. The monsoon season began later that night and it rained.
-2023, July 18 - Kate visited the ranch again to find an explosion in toad populations. On the twenty-minute drive from the town to the ranch, large populations of toads were seen and documented (see videos 1-3). These large numbers were unexpected. We believe the toad has made a rebound in population size in the area of our ranch. Gerry was not there to confirm but after looking at videos he stated that he had never seen so many toads in the area.
Sadly, only two tadpoles were found in both toad pools. In 2022, it was estimated that over 50,000 tadpoles were hatched in our pools (see video 4). We don't know why the pools did not produce tadpoles this year. It is predicted that the neighborhood kids put in too much freshwater or killed the tadpoles by playing in the pools. It is also possible that the tadpoles were eaten by a predator.
Kate collected medicine on the ranch and in the surrounding neighborhood. Toads with bleeding glands were observed, as well as toads without any venom in their glands (which means they just used their venom on a predator or were just milked). A toad with a popped pupil was found (this most likely was caused by someone trying to milk the toads with extreme cruelty). Another toad is found with a venom gland completely ripped off.
- 2023, July 19 - Kate visited the ranch around 1:00 pm and saw two white men with sleeping bags walking towards the entrance of the ranch. When they saw her, they immediately started walking the other way. There are no hotels in this area and the nearest town is 20 minutes away.
- 2023, August 8 - Kate visited the ranch and saw very few toads on the drive from town under the light posts. The toads are more active some nights than others. (We don't think they were stolen again).
Once at the ranch, Kate is informed that people have been trespassing and milking toads on the on the property and in the surrounding area. The people trespassing were so loud and disruptive the community began locking the gates to the nearby parks and basketball courts.
- 2023, September 20 - Gerry and Kate return to the ranch to celebrate the Fall Equinox. All but a few toads are still awake. The majority are already in estivation. The end of a beautiful season.
The good news is that we have successfully contributed to increasing the population. Sadly it will not last if people continue to milk this animal without ethics.
If you use this medicine and/or are a provider of it, please do real research about where your medicine comes from. This is not a substance to price shop for on the internet. These are living breathing beings who have emotions and can feel pain. If you are going to participate in a sacred ceremony with this medicine please ask your provider where their medicine comes from and what they are doing to support these amazing creatures.
We only collect medicine for personal use and to use in our ceremonies. We do not sell medicine. I am more than happy to donate my time and expertise to assist anyone who wants to set up a bufo ranch in Sonora.