Otters use “turtle tunnels” to safely cross under the road


A project to help animals cross the road has been completed in Minnesota and appears to be a success for the otters.

Two otters were caught on camera using a newly built wildlife pass in Dakota County, Minnesota. The footage was shared on social media on Friday.

“There’s a lot happening on the Wildlife Corridor under Cliff Road along Lebanon Hills Regional Park!” Dakota County Parks wrote in a Facebook post.

A team of natural resource workers from the county and the Minnesota Zoo previously determined that this particular road was a “hotspot” for vehicular killings of small animals, the post said.

In a press releaseThe county said it had “completed three ‘turtle tunnels,’ or ‘animal crossings,’ designed to provide safe passage for turtles and other wildlife roaming near the area.”

“When we have projects like these wildlife tunnels, we’re helping to make the movement of wildlife within the landscapes that they travel in a little bit better and a little bit safer,” said Tom Lewanski, a natural resources manager at of the Parks Department, in the statement.

The new tunnels are already very popular with the local four-legged population.

“In the short time the tunnels have been in operation, we have already documented many animals using them, including otters, muskrats, squirrels and snapping turtles!” Dakota County Parks wrote on Facebook.

In An entry Last week, the department also shared images of a passage used by a squirrel, a muskrat and, yes, a turtle.

The most famous turtle tunnel in the United States is the Eco passage at Lake Jackson in Leon County, Fla. That project was completed in 2010 after researchers documented the killing of thousands of turtles and other animals along a specific stretch of the four-lane highway over a five-year period.

The Lake Jackson Ecopassage sparked some controversy in 2009 after the then Senator. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claimed it was an example of wasteful government spending. But after its completion, Matthew Aresco, the biologist who led the project, said it was a huge achievement in terms of saving animal lives.

“I’ve been monitoring it for the past few months and it’s working exactly as intended,” he says told Tallahassee Magazine in 2012. “Animals use it back and forth (through) the culverts and stay behind the barrier. You will not be killed on the freeway.”

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