Residents of a city in Lake Ontario have agreed to help an endangered salamander specie by agreeing to stay off the road usually plied by the said reptile.
For close to three weeks in March, drivers in Burlington have agreed not to use one section of a major road to help preserve the Jefferson salamander.
These salamanders measure between 2.4 and 4.1 inches (60 and 104 millimeters) long, are considered endangered in Canada because they lack suitable breeding habitats.
The amphibians breed in fishless bodies of water or ponds, with the females laying eggs in the early spring.
The larvae transform in the early summer and normally leave the pond by August. The salamanders spend the winter in leaves, logs or soil.
Without access to these kind of ponds, breeding is usually difficult for the Jefferson Salamander.
Since 2012, Burlington, Ontario has been a breeding ground for scores of salamanders. The 0.6-mile (1-kilometer) stretch of King Road in the city allows the salamanders to cross the road safely to reach their breeding grounds on the other side.
This said road has been closed to stop the salamanders from being run over as they try to get to their breeding sites.
The closure is fairly routine now that the city’s press release contains two short paragraphs about the road closure and four paragraphs about the salamander itself.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, in a statement released on that effect said,
“Since the first full road closure in 2012, there has been no road mortality of Jefferson salamanders observed by Conservation Halton staff during the road closure period. We are happy to play a small role in protecting the salamanders while raising awareness about their endangered status.”
Prior to the start of this road closure, a significant amount of salamander deaths have been reported, but now, those sightings are down to almost zero.