New ecopassages to help critters cross the road

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Wildlife is benefitting from the installation of ecopassages at Bruce Peninsula National Park. 

Eco-passages are specialized wildlife tunnels which allow animals to safely cross busy roads. They are especially important in areas where a road fragments critical habitat and prevents animals from reaching their breeding grounds.

Park staff install specialized fencing
Specialized fence to direct animals towards the ecopassages

Our scientists have identified seven high priority locations for ecopassages in Bruce Peninsula National Park. These are areas where we’ve traditionally seen a high number of road deaths or injuries to reptiles and amphibians because of cars, also known as “hotspots”.

Animals which try to cross the road in these areas will encounter a specialized fence. Snakes, turtles and small mammals such as rodents are not able to crawl over, or dig under these fences. Instead they are redirected to a tunnel. These tunnels are specially designed to be more attractive to reptiles and amphibians by allowing  sunlight through the top so these cold blooded creatures (ectotherms) don’t have to go into cold, dark places to get where they are going.

The opening of an ecopassage showing the tunnel under the road
The fencing leads animals to the opening and each end of the ecopassage.

We continue to monitor how well this system works, and so far, the results are positive. To date, more than 4,000 animals have safely crossed roads using eco-passages in the park. We are confident that we are on the right path to help at risk species such as snapping turtle, massasauga rattlesnake, eastern ribbon snake and several others.

Next time you visit us at Bruce Peninsula National Park watch for the metal grates on the roads. Those are your sign that we’re working hard to help protect the creatures which share this magnificent place with us.

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