An earth wall at least 200 times their size. It seems impossible to avoid this barrier as they seem endless whether you look left or right. Breathing is hard from all the exhaust and ear-splitting noise makes them freeze. The top of this barrier is covered by a black plate and on this plat gigantic steel monsters the size of a skyscraper pass at breathtaking speed. The noise drowns their cries attempting to reach their fellows on the other side of the barrier.
This is the fate of millions of amphibians when they move from their winter resorts to their spawning grounds or summer locations. Frogs, toads and salamander are part of the species of amphibians. Their ideal habitat is a very diverse, natural environment with a multitude of small habitats such as lakes, meadows, hedges, forests and marsh areas. More and more traffic routes cut the routes of amphibians. Streets are the most dangerous barrier for these animals. Traffic kills so many every year that numerous amphibious populations are threatened with extinction. Tunnel-Guidance-Systems are a means to permanently protect migrating animals. These consist of passages and a guidance system. They enable these animals to safely cross a street. Prof. Dr. Manfred Pintar, Export for the protection of amphibians at the University for natural resources in Vienna (Amphibienschutzexperte an der Universität für Bodenkultur in Wien) points out that “70-90% of amphibians could be saved in this way”. Permanently installed protective systems have another advantage in that they also protect young amphibians when they migrate. The same is true for the migration of amphibians in autumn and other migrating small animals. Migrating animals are very headstrong and want to use the shortest possible route. They do not like to be redirected. Therefore it is necessary to carefully study the migration routes of amphibians and to plan tunnel-guidance-systems accordingly. Some 30 to 50 km of protective devices for amphibians have been build during the construction of the PPP Project Y in Lower Austria.
Picture credits: Arge NATURSCHUTZ