This is how rescuers take care of endangered animals before the railway renovation – Southwest

Wall lizards, viper, soft snakes and co – because the Kinzigtal railway will soon be built, endangered animals will have to leave. Fortunately they stayed close.

She writhes and struggles at a small camping table next to the Kinzig Valley Railroad tracks. Just caught, measured, weighed and tested for fungal infection. Then freedom ends in the present. The Snake, which weighs 156 grams, is given the number 12 and will go to a Hubert Laufer terrarium for the time being. The reptile expert along with colleagues at the Deutsche Bahn is overseeing the resettlement of the protected species: wall lizards, smooth snakes, herbaceous and fruit snakes can all be found along the Kinzigtal Railway in the Black Forest. They should live the next few months as safe as possible.

So they have to move. From June 4, the rails and switches will be replenished and the soiled ballast cleaned or replaced on the 33 kilometers between Hausach and Freudenstadt. It is necessary to carry out large-scale construction work, and the road will remain closed until October 8. However, in many areas along the paths, endangered animals love to sunbathe, live on dams, in bushes or under gravel. Parts of the path run parallel to the Kinzig River – a paradise for snakes. In preparation for the construction project, environmentalists began counting the animals along the trails last year to see which sections are particularly common.

Summer quarters for lizards wall

In general, seven kilometers of fences were built in these “hot spot areas” and so-called alternative habitats were created behind them. Piles of dead wood were built, according to Estian Singer, who is in charge of the habitat. Piles of stones were stacked as summer quarters for wall lizards, for example, so that they could feel comfortable there. Now everything is ready, guests can come. A convenient procedure for railway crawlers cost about 400 thousand euros. A total of about 35 million euros will be invested to rehabilitate the road.

Since the end of April, animals on the track or in the gravel area have been collected and brought to the habitats outside the fences. Louvre and his colleague Nejiati Nurmiti were lizard-hunting in the morning. You walk down the road slowly, looking seriously at the ground. The Laufer wears a kind of lizard lasso: it looks like a fishing rod, with a loop that hangs down the front so that it can pull the lizard’s head back if it’s fast enough.

Fences of green fabrics

Normiti finds it. He armed himself with a soft, bright yellow sponge that could squeeze a runaway animal without injuring him. Catch three within 30 minutes. In the meantime, the lizards in beanbags behind the fence are released again. The fences are covered with a green cloth that is so slippery that lizards cannot climb. Where snakes live, fences are a little higher, Louvre explains. “Now it’s about not hurting or killing any animals,” he says.

The columns found where there are no fences are given special treatment and are waiting in the Louvre terrariums for the end of the construction work. Then they are returned to exactly where they were before. Yield so far: 12 boa. In addition, approximately 30 wall lizards, 2 sand lizards and 5 grass snakes have been brought to safety so far. Only smooth snakes, although counted in earlier documents, have not yet been caught by Louvre and his colleagues.

A veterinarian accompanies the project

The actions are monitored by the environmental protection associations BUND and Nabu, all of which are requirements of the responsible authorities. “The animal numbers have nothing to do with construction work,” a federal and state spokeswoman says. Legal requirements are crucial. According to the European Union’s Plant and Animals Directive (FFH), the grass snake and viper are specially protected and the smooth snake and wall lizards are strictly protected – no matter how often they actually occur in certain areas. In Louvre’s focus is Snake. Because it’s in great danger in the southwest, he says.

Veterinarian Lisa Schuller follows the project closely: data on possible fungal infection of snakes will be included in her thesis. She wants to know how common the disease, which was first detected in wild snakes in Germany in 2019, is already in that country, she said.

Naboo would have preferred it if the protection of the reptiles did not end immediately when the road opened in the fall. “We would like to check the track again once construction is complete and the fences are down,” said Claudia Wild, a spokeswoman for Naboo. “Then you can judge whether the animals came back and whether everything was working as planned.” Not a requirement of the authorities.

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