When it comes to turtles, road mortality is the leading cause of population decline (second to poaching for the pet trade). To stop the decline of turtle populations The Land Between charity aims to install as many turtle tunnels as possible across the region’s high risk roads – and as quickly as possible.
Turtle tunnels are essentially a “guiding fence” consisting of a “C” shaped tube, set in a ditch which can be backfilled so animals can get off the roads, meanwhile turtles attempting to climb onto roads are stopped and instead, the turtles must then follow this guide which will lead them to an existing culvert. Now to get to the other side they have to cross under the road. This allows a safe passage to the other side without risk of getting hit by a car on the road.
As conservationists, we are working on a recyclable turtle tunnel pilot project; instead of using plastic tubing (which breaks down over time, leaches micro toxins, and is costly to make), we are using recycled 55 gallon steel drums. We cut the drum tops off, then cut them in half vertically to create the tunnel shape. After some welding and digging, these permanent turtle tunnels will be in the ground to help detour turtles from crossing roads in dangerous areas!
Of course, this project would not be capable without the help of some incredible people and companies: SoSoya has supplied the steel drums, Garry Mercer Trucking Inc donated the shipping of the drums, and Dan Kunckle of Highlanders Auto Body has allowed us to use his garage to store and work on the drums and his acetylene torch to cut them.
But we are not quite ready to install the drums yet!
Despite all of our hard work, we still need help to weld the feet (lids) on the half pipe cuts, a mini excavator or lots of volunteers to dig in and secure each drum. This will be a very cool landmark test project! If you know a welder, someone with a mini ex or simply have some brawn to spare and would like to volunteer to help install the turtle tunnels, please call the office at 705-457-1222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to next months newsletter to see updates on our progress on the tunnel!