Special Tunnels Save Turtles From Train Deaths In Japan

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Photo Credit: Suma Aqualife Parl

The Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe, Japan is no stranger to turtle traffic. Every summer from May to September, hundreds of reptiles make their way to and from the nearby ocean. While most manage to cover the short distance safely, a handful get trapped inside the railway tracks that lie between the ocean and the popular park.

According to the aquarium officials, as the turtles are trying to cross the tracks, a few fall in. Unable to climb out, they start to walk along the track. The problem arises when a trapped turtle is close to a railroad switch that is in the process of shifting to accommodate an incoming train. As the point blades move, they crush and kill the reptiles.

Photo Credit: Suma Aqualife Park

To save the precious animals, the Suma Aqualife Park officials teamed up with engineers from West Japan Railways to create 'turtle' tunnels. The U-shaped concrete ditches that have been built close to the treacherous switches provide a place for the turtles to slip into and protect them from the point blades. The tunnels also help prevent costly train delays that occur every time a reptile gets caught in the switch.

Since the five concrete tunnels were installed at the two closest railway stations in April and November, railroad personnel have scooped up ten turtles from the ditches and delivered them safely to the aquarium. As Naoki Kamezaki, the head of Suma Aqualife Park succinctly puts it, saving the turtles is a "refreshing feeling."

Resources: Huffingtonpost.com, metro.co.uk,citylab.com, japantimes.co.uk

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