Penguins in Oamaru Harbor, New Zealand, have been crossing a very busy highway to get to the ocean for more than twenty years. Because of their small height, drivers have trouble seeing the birds before it’s too late. But when drivers do see them and stop, it creates traffic jams in the area. Officials have tried to teach the penguins a safer path to the ocean, but nothing seemed to work.
That’s when officials decided to build an 80 foot long tunnel under the highway complete with lighting. At first, they didn’t think the penguins would use the tunnel, so they set up cameras at each end to monitor their behavior. It turns out that they love it!
The entire project took around three months to build and locals in the community donated time and materials to keep the cost down. Now the penguins have a safe haven to get across the busy street without putting their lives at risk in traffic.
The penguins were in danger every time they had to cross this busy street. No matter how many signs go up you just can’t make drivers pay attention.
This tunnel is not only good for the penguins safety, but also drivers on the busy roadway.
A video camera was set up to see if the penguins would actually use the tunnel. It turns out they love the safe passage and are making good use of it.