A project to help animals cross the road has been completed in Minnesota, and it looks to be an otter success.
Two otters were caught on camera utilizing a newly built wildlife passage in Minnesota’s Dakota County, with the footage shared to social media Friday.
“The wildlife corridor under Cliff Road along Lebanon Hills Regional Park is busy!” Dakota County Parks wrote in a Facebook post.
A team of natural resource staffers from the county and the Minnesota Zoo had previously determined that this particular road was a “hotspot” for small animals getting killed by vehicles, the post said.
In a press release, the county said that it had completed “three ‘turtle tunnels’ or ‘critter crossings’ designed to provide safe passage for turtles and other wildlife that travel near the area.”
“When we have projects like these wildlife tunnels, we are helping to facilitate wildlife movement within the landscapes they travel — a little better and a little safer,” Tom Lewanski, a natural resources manager with the parks department, said in the statement.
The new tunnels are already popular with the local four-legged population.
“In the short time since the tunnels have been operational, we have already documented many animals using them including otters, muskrats, squirrels, and snapping turtles!” Dakota County Parks wrote on Facebook.
In a post last week, the department also shared images of a passage being used by a squirrel, a muskrat and, yes, a turtle.
The United States’ most famous turtle tunnel is the Lake Jackson Ecopassage in Florida’s Leon County. That project was completed in 2010 after researchers documented thousands of turtles and other animals being killed on a particular stretch of four-lane highway over a five-year period.
The Lake Jackson Ecopassage attracted some controversy in 2009 after then-Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claimed it was an example of wasteful government spending. But after its completion, Matthew Aresco, the biologist who spearheaded the project, said it was a big success in terms of saving animal lives.
“I monitored it over the last several months and it’s working exactly as it was intended,” he told Tallahassee Magazine in 2012. “Animals are using it back and forth (through) the culverts, and they’re staying behind the barrier wall. They’re not being killed on the highway.”
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