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Estonian capital closes road to allow breeding frogs and toads safe passage

A busy road in the Estonian capital Tallinn has been closed for April nights to keep thousands of frogs and toads travelling to their breeding grounds safe from cars.

Volunteers usually help carry frogs and toads over roads in the spring and say they have saved 97,000 of them in previous years, including 2,000 last year on the Tallinn road.

But with the coronavirus pandemic making such help impossible this year, road closures are the only lifeline for the amphibians.

“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.”

As 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 cars.

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 deputy head of Haabersti district Oleg Siljanov.



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