The State Nature Conservation Centre in association with the Põhjakonn non-profit organisation and the Road Administration will be launching a project on 1 April titled “Frogs on the Road” for caring people to help them chart areas in Estonia where frogs’ migratory routes cross highways.
“We want to identify the areas where the frogs are crossing the roads and, by the end of the project, have designated the places where the Road Administration is going to have to plan special tunnels under the road through which the frogs will be able to move safely,” explains Ivar Ojaste, a chief specialist in species conservation with the State Nature Conservation Centre.
In spring frogs migrate to their spawning grounds and in autumn to their winter hibernation sites along routes that have become fixed over time. Studies undertaken in the Netherlands have revealed that even on roads where there are only ten vehicles an hour, every third frog can die during the peak migration season. When traffic volume reaches as high as 60 vehicles an hour, up to 95% of migrating frogs perish.
“And that makes traffic one of the greatest risk factors for frog populations,” says Ojaste. “Tunnels though would provide a safe crossing not only for frogs, but also insects, spiders, snakes, lizards, hedgehogs and mice.”
The State Nature Conservation Centre, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment, is asking people who see frogs crossing roads to inform them of the location. You can call the Põhjakonn organisation on +372 51 900 903. The line is open 24 hours a day in April and May and September and October, which is the most active migratory period for frogs.
When you call…
*…identify in as much detail as possible the location of the frog crossing (which section of the highway, the name of the nearest bus stop, the closest village, the coordinates on a map, etc.)
*…give an approximation of the number of migrating/dead animals (as a whole, in tens or individuals)
In order to avoid running over the animals, slow down as soon as you see any.
The frog project is being funded by the Environmental Investment Centre.