The salvation of these tiny baby turtles may have come with a $2.7 million price tag and ten years of hard work, but the town responsible for the project knows it was all worth it.
Ever since the Long Point Causeway in southern Ontario was constructed a little over a century ago, it is estimated that thousands of turtles and endangered reptiles have been killed by oncoming cars traveling to see the beautiful beaches of the Long Point Peninsula.
Rick Levick, along with some other empowered locals, started campaigning for culverts to be installed underneath the dangerous 2-mile road. Culverts are tiny tunnels that allow critters to cross from one side of the road to the other without being in harm’s way.
Though $2.7 million seems like a hefty price, the determined residents sought funding from numerous wildlife agencies and organizations. One local author published a children’s book, to help cover some of the costs.
Then, in 2008, the town started construction of the culverts – the last of which was built in January.
Researchers are excited to announce that since the 12 culverts were created, turtle and snake deaths have fallen by 80%.
“We did have some opposition,” Levick told VICE Motherboard. “It was people very skeptical that we could do anything that said: ‘Well we’ve been running over turtles for years, and they’re still here, so why bother?’ Of course, that’s probably what they said just before the buffalo disappeared.”
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Reprint (Photo by Long Point Causeway Improvement Project, with turtle inset)