Ontario city to close road for salamander crossing

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A Jefferson salamander is shown in this undated handout photo. An Ontario city is set to temporarily close a road to allow for the safe passage of endangered amphibians during their breeding season. The Jefferson salamander, found only in southern Ontario, is about to emerge from the ground and make its annual trek to ponds along the Niagara escarpment in Burlington, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Conservation Halton *MANDATORY CREDIT*

An Ontario city is set to temporarily close a road to allow for the safe passage of endangered amphibians during their breeding season.

The Jefferson salamander, found only in southern Ontario, is about to emerge from the ground and make its annual trek to ponds along the Niagara escarpment in Burlington, Ont.

The city has been closing King Road for about three weeks a year since 2012 to help improve survival of the Jefferson salamander, which can live up to 30 years.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring says the program, which begins tomorrow, has been a resounding success as no salamanders have died on the road since the closures began.

He says council voted unanimously to help protect the Jefferson salamander.

The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels and was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.

There has been other work to help the salamander. York Region north of Toronto has built a series of tunnels under roads to help increase survival of the rare amphibian.

But safe crossings aren’t limited to endangered amphibians as Ontario has spent millions to build overpasses and underpasses to allow animals such as deer, elk, moose and bears to cross highways without danger.

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