Tunnel for migrating amphibians built in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 2009

Events, facts, documents and evidences: Large numbers of frogs and toads that inhabit the Belovezhskaya Pushcha national park are killed in spring while crossing roads as they migrate. Mass amphibian death from road vehicles is a problem that exists in many areas in Belarus, not just Belovezhskaya Pushcha. European countries have long built special tunnels to help amphibians cross hazardous roads safely.

That experience was successfully borrowed and used in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 2009. One of those dangerous road sections in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is located between the administrative and tourist center of the national park and the village of Kamenyuki. Every spring frogs and toads that survived the winter migrate across an asphalt road to a small water reservoir in the floodplain of the Pravaya Lesnaya River to shed their eggs and hatch tadpoles. According to scientists’ estimates, up to 400 amphibians are killed by road vehicles on that section of the road during mass migration. The tunnel is expected to reduce amphibian deaths at least by half.

The photo below shows the section of the road that blocks the natural paths of amphibian spring migration.

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(The area danger for amphibians; May 03, 2009)
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(A small water reservoir where amphibians spawn; April 04, 2010)

The pictures below show the tunnel construction beginning in the spring of 2009. Workers have brought large metal pipes and are installing them under the roadway.

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(The road during the main construction phase; May 03, 2009)
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(The newly brought pipes; May 03, 2009)
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(The beginning of the pipe installation; May 03, 2009)

Preparations for Belovezhskaya Pushcha’s protection 600th anniversary included an overhaul of the road section by asphalting the roadway, paving new pedestrian walks and laying these with special tiles. The work had been done in summer.

The shot below shows the road section with the crossing pipes as seen during the overhaul.

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(Road repair; July 25, 2009)

These photographs show the construction of concrete barriers designed to prevent amphibians from getting on to the roadway and to set them on the way going to the tunnels.

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(The special concrete barriers; August 09, 2009)

These shots show the tunnels in use.

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(The tunnels in use; April 03, 2010)