The spring migration of toads has started and a temporary traffic restriction has been introduced on Astangu Street in Tallinn to ensure a safer migration route for amphibians. The ban on motor vehicles on the stretch from Kotermaa Street to 19/3 Astangu Street is in force from 9 pm until 6 am. The traffic restriction will remain in force until the end of the toad migration.
All amphibians are under protection in Estonia and the Red Data Book classifies them as one of the most endangered animal groups. In the absence of a traffic restriction and voluntary helpers, a large number of migrating toads could perish on Astangu Street.
"A Green Capital is not just a city with plenty of parks and green areas. It is also a city where we respect each other and we can all do our part to preserve biodiversity by being mindful of all living things," said Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet. "Tallinn has developed a diverse urban habitat, and sometimes it needs a human hand, like this time in Astangu. Whether it's volunteering to help toads cross the road, or temporarily closing traffic during the toad migration period to save the lives of as many animals as possible."
Oleg Siljanov, head of the Haabersti district, said: "The partial closure of Astangu Street is already in its third spring and is necessary to ensure a safe migration route for amphibians from their wintering grounds to breeding ponds. The aim is to prevent 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," said Siljanov, adding that in 2021, more than 2,000 amphibians were helped to cross the road with the help of volunteers. "In previous years, when there were no restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus and there were action days to help toad migration, the numbers have been even higher."
"Amphibians play a very important role in the ecosystem and their abundance affects other animals, birds and indirectly all of us. Therefore, I would like to remind all drivers using Astangu Street to respect the restrictions imposed by the city," said Siljanov, and expressed the hope that Astangu settlement residents will understand the need for traffic restrictions and use the Järveotsa road to get to Astangu in the late evenings or early mornings during this period.
Oleg Siljanov expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers who have helped the toads cross the road in Astangu in previous years or who plan to do so this spring. As nature is awakening and the mass migration of toads has not yet started, the district head recommends that volunteers join the Astangu toad rescuers group on Facebook, where they can find out exactly when a helping hand is needed. Each new volunteer could also go through a training session to learn where the breeding pond is, how to pick up a toad, which amphibians can be put together in a bucket.
The request to provide a safe route for amphibians on Astangu Street was addressed to the Tallinn Environment and Public Works Department, Tallinn Transport Department and Haabersti district government by the Estonian Fund for Nature.
Last year, Tallinn was elected as the European Green Capital 2023. The city has set itself the goal of improving the quality of life of its citizens and becoming an environmentally friendly city with a better living environment and urban space. One of Tallinn's key themes for the Capital Year is biodiversity. It also aims to better involve Tallinn's communities in the development of the city, to find ways to support and implement green innovation, to develop carbon-neutral mobility and the circular economy, to advance the city according to the principles of sustainable development, and to help citizens better understand the importance of environmental care.