Photo by Todd W. Pierson.

The city of Burlington in Ontario has a dwindling population of Jefferson salamanders (colloquially known as “Jeffies”). There are only about 100 left in the area, and Burlington is one of the only places in the province where the Jeffies have to cross a major road to breed. So the city decided to shut down the road for three weeks so the little guys can safely make their way across.

Jefferson salamanders are a threatened species, and the ones in Burlington are of a rare variety found mainly along the Niagara escarpment. So it’s inconvenient that they hibernate on one side of a road that gets 1,500 cars a day, but breed and lay eggs in a pond on the other side. Still, Burlington’s city council has decided — more or less unanimously — that they can’t afford to lose any Jeffies, so the road will be shut down until March 29.

There were no objections from local politicians, said Burlington mayor Rick Goldring.

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“We considered crossing guards, but that wasn’t going to work,” he said.

This is not the first time Canadians have gone out of their way for amphibians. In 2002, the York, Ontario region built five tunnels for salamanders to cross under a large road.

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