Effective from March 31 through April 9, the City of Tallinn is temporarily closing a portion of Astangu Street to motor vehicles every night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to facilitate the annual migration of toads south of Lake Harku.
All amphibian species are under protection in Estonia, and are classified in the national Red Data Book as one of the most endangered animal groups, according to a Tallinn city government press release. Not restricting traffic along Astangu Street could lead to the death of large numbers of migrating toads unless volunteers are on site to help the amphibians cross safely.
The nightly closure of Astangu Street between Kotermaa 1 and Astangu 19/3 to motor vehicle traffic will not apply to public transport passing through.
According to Haabersti City District Elder Oleg Siljanov (Center), this will mark the third spring that the Haabersti road is partially closed to traffic during migration season.
"[This closure] is necessary to ensure a safe migration route for amphibians from their wintering grounds to breeding ponds," Siljanov explained. "The goal is to prevent the mass mortality of toads, as this section of Astangu Street is one of the largest amphibian migration corridors in Estonia, with thousands of toads crossing it every spring in a short period of time."
Last year, more than 2,000 amphibians were helped across the road by volunteers. "In previous years, when there were no COVID-related restrictions on gatherings and there were toad crossing bees, those numbers have been even higher," the city district elder said.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help facilitate toad crossings along Astangu Street is encouraged to join the Astangu Toad Rescuers group (link in Estonian) on Facebook.
The request to provide a safe crossing for amphibians along Astangu Street was submitted by the Estonian Fund for Nature to Tallinn's Urban Environment and Public Works Department and Transport Department and to the Haabersti District Administration.
Editor: Aili Vahtla