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These railway engineers thought of a brilliant idea to save turtles
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baby turtle

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence)

Living near the Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe, Japan, it is common to see turtle “traffic”.

Between the months of May and September each year, one can see hundreds of turtle making their way from the park to the nearby ocean. Between them and the ocean lies a railway track and unfortunately, while most makes it safely to the ocean, there are some who are trapped!


Suma Aqualife Park

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence)


When the turtles try to cross the tracks to get to the ocean, a few may fall in. As they are unable to climb out, they started to walk along the tracks itself. The problem arises when a trapped turtle is near to a railroad switch.

These railroad switch are blades that shift to allow oncoming trains to go onto their correct tracks. When the point blades move, it will crush and kill the turtles! Besides the loss of these reptiles, every time this happens, it causes costly train delays.


railway switch blades

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence)


Engineers from West Japan Railways then came up with a brilliant idea – turtle tunnels! These are U-shaped concrete that looks like drains or ditches. The are built close to the railroad switches. This gives the turtles a place to slip into and protects them from the point blades.

Since the 5 tunnels are installed at the 2 closest stations, railway staff have rescued 10 turtles from the tunnels and delivered them safely to the aquarium.



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