Tens of millions of red crabs (gecarcoidea natalis) migrate across Christmas Island, located in the South Pacific. Although they live in forests on the island, they must go to the sea to breed. To help them cross safely, the people of the island take a variety of precautions. They sometimes close roads, and, in recent years, they’ve even built underpasses and bridges to give the crabs safe passage.
More than 20 kilometers of plastic barriers are in place to direct the crabs away from the island’s main roads and into its 31 underpasses and on a five-meter-high bridge. These pathways also make it easier to see the crabs do what they do best, and they have become a popular tourist attraction.
Photos from Japan Railways went viral after the company installed turtle tunnels to ensure they animals were not harmed in the making of the country’s railways. The West Japan Railway Company came up with the turtle-saving solution in partnership with Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe, after a spate of fatalities, caused by their getting caught in the train tracks.
3. Elephant Underpass
Banff National Park is cut through by the bustling Trans-Canada Highway. That spells mortal danger for the bears, elk, moose and dozens of over mammals around. Between 1996 and 2013, officials built six wildlife overpasses and 38 underpasses, which have supported more than 140,000 documented wildlife crossings.
5. Bee Highway
From flower-emblazoned cemeteries to rooftop gardens and balconies, Oslo, Norway has created a “bee highway” to protect the endangered pollinators essential to food production. It aims to give the insects a safe passage through the city and is lined with relays providing food and shelter. It is also the first such system in the world, according to the organizers.
The mass destruction of bee populations around the world has already forced farmers in the Chinese province of Sichuan to pollinate plants by hand. In the U.S., some are left with no choice but to rent hives transported cross-country by truck to cross-fertilize their crops.
The Netherlands was one of the first countries in the world to deploy a network of wildlife crossings across the landscape. More than 600 have been built in this country, including the world’s longest wildlife overpass, the Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo, which is 50 meters wide and over 800 meters long. It spans a business park, a river, a roadway, a railway line and a sports complex. (Source 1 | Source 2)
Henry Street, a two-lane roadway in North Amherst, Massachusetts looks like any other street in town, but it’s not. One rainy night each spring, as soon as the evening temperature rises above 40 degrees and the snow begin to thaw, hundreds of spotted salamanders emerge from their underground forest burrows on the east side of the street to cross the road.
The dark gray and yellow-spotted amphibians need to get to vernal pools on the west side of the road so they can mate, but their annual voyage was historically made treacherous by cars that would inadvertently crush some of the creatures each spring.
In the early 1980s, Amherst residents were so concerned about the amphibians that they formed a “bucket brigade.” In late March and early April, they stood along Henry Street to pick up roving salamanders and carry them safely to their breeding ponds.
In 1987, the British Fauna and Floral Preservation Society and ACO Polymer, a drainage company in Germany, heard about the salamanders’ predicament and provided funds for an experimental tunnel project along the street. The underpass system allows the spotted salamanders, as well as wood frogs and other amphibians, to safely migrate back and forth.
These crossing structures are tiny — about 10” high and 6” wide. Each tunnel has a slotted top to provide enough of the dampness salamanders need to keep from drying out. Fences guide the critters inside the mouths of the underpasses.
8. Ecoduct De Woeste Hoeve
Ecoduct De Woeste Hoeve runs over the A50 highway in the Netherlands. The country contains an impressive 600 wildlife crossings (including underpasses and ecoducts) that have been used to protect populations of wild boar, deer, and the endangered European badger.
As of 2012, the Veluwe —1000 square kilometers of woods, heath, and drifting sands — is the largest lowland nature area in North Western Europe. It contains nine ecoducts, 50 meters wide on average, that are used to shuttle wildlife across highways that transect it. Its first two ecoducts were built around 1985 across the A50 when the road was constructed. Five of the other ecoducts on the Veluwe were built across existing highways — one was even built across a two-lane provincial road. The two ecoducts across the A50 were used by nearly 5,000 deer and wild boar during a one-year period.
9. Squirrel Bridge
The Nutty Narrows Bridge is a squirrel bridge in Longview, Washington. It holds the title of the “World’s Narrowest Bridge” and also the “World’s Narrowest Animal Crossing.” Before the bridge was built, squirrels had to avoid speeding traffic by running across the street and back again to a park with large trees.
On March 19, 1963, after seeing too many squirrels being flattened, resident Amos Peters decided to protect squirrels and give them a way to cross a busy thoroughfare without getting killed by passing cars. The original sky-bridge was built over Olympia Way near the Civic Center in downtown Longview. Designed to look like a mini-suspension bridge, the 60-foot-long (18 m) span was made from aluminum piping covered with an old fire hose to create the roadway. The total cost of the bridge was $1000.
10. Davi’s Toad Tunnel
A $14,000 wildlife crossing was constructed in 1995 as a six-inch tunnel to allow frogs (not toads, despite the project’s name) to circumvent the newly built Pole Line Road overpass. The postmaster decorated the entrance to the tunnel near the Post Office to resemble a town named Toad Hollow — complete with a bar, outhouse, and a hotel!
Rumor has it that the frogs initially refused to use the tunnel, so lights were installed to encourage them. They then died from the heat of the lamps inside the tunnel. If they did get through, they also had to battle with birds who quickly learned of the frog-producing hole in the ground. The project received national attention, including a feature on The Daily Show in 1998. In January 2000, the children’s book, The Toads of Davis, written and illustrated by Ted Puntillo, Sr., was published to tell the story of the Davis Toad Tunnel through the eyes of the frogs.