Environmentalists say they will save thousands of frogs this spring from getting smashed by cars during the peak of the migrating season.
It is the first year that environmentalists have planned the frog express, in which plastic tarp walls will be set up along major roads - such as the Ülenurme-Kurepalu and Tartu-Viljandi highways – to trap the amphibians, then capture them and safely transport them to the other side of the road. Fifty volunteers have signed up, reported Postimees.
The Fund for Nature has bankrolled the unprecedentedly large-scale operation with a strikingly substantial sum - 90,000 euros - to train project organizers, plead for the mercy of drivers in media campaigns, and feed volunteers. In previous years, there was also a frog hot line.
Experts say the migration paths, which intersect with traffic-heavy highways, will be most actively used when the temperature gap between day and night levels out - probably in the first half of April.
But in the future, environmentalists envision the construction of tunnels underneath roads for the amphibians. "Our ultimate goal is for road builders to account with the frogs in the future. Helping the frogs across the road is the best we can do at the moment,” said Tanel Laan, project director for the Fund for Nature.
Estonia has 11 species of migrating frogs.