Estonia closes busy Tallinn road for a month at night so thousands of frogs and toads can cross

Estonian authorities have ordered a major road in Tallinn, the capital, closed every night in April to protect migrating frogs.

Frogs and toads pass across the area’s roads while travelling to their breeding grounds.

Volunteers usually help carry the amphibians in the spring rush, and say they have saved 97,000 of them from cars in previous years, including 2,000 last year on the Tallinn road.

However, that work has been made impossible by the coronavirus pandemic, meaning road closures are now the animals’ only hope.

“The frogs were here before the road,” said Kristel Saarm, an Estonian National Fund volunteer.

“Now the ponds where they breed are on one side of the road and their wintering place is on the other. So they are forced to cross.”

Because the warm surface of the road makes the amphibians sleepy and slow, up to 300 can get stuck at a time, leaving them vulnerable to traffic.

Tallinn is considering building a tunnel under the road for the frogs and toads to cross or providing a pond on the side where they overwinter, said Oleg Siljanov, the deputy head of Haabersti district.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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