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Wednesday, 2nd December 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Nara railway workers install turtle crossing points

Turtles in the Nara Prefecture in Japan have been causing train disruptions by getting on the tracks, but an innovative solution has been found.

Between 2002 and 2014, there were 13 cases of delayed trains as a direct result of turtles on the line and the slow-moving reptiles were obviously putting their lives at risk.

Now, officials from West Japan Railways have formed a partnership with the Suma Aqualife aquarium in Kobe to deal with the situation.

They have installed a series of shallow trenches beneath the tracks to act as turtle crossing points and allow the creatures to get to the other side safely.

A spokesman for the railway company told Agence France-Presse: “The turtles are basically just going about their daily business and have to cross the lines to get to a pond. When the point blades move, unfortunately they get squashed between them and die.

“There are a lot of turtles in the area and they are simply moving from A to B. But they can cause long delays to operations so we consulted with a turtle specialist to find the best way to help them.”

So far it is thought that ten turtles have safely used the ditches since they were put in place near the point blades a month ago.

Workers going about their activities on the line check the trenches on a regular basis for turtles and transfer them to a safe distance away from the tracks.

While turtles have been causing problems in Nara Prefecture with trains, a tortoise has been elevated to an important position within the railway industry in another part of Japan.

Kotaro, a large African tortoise, is the official stationmaster at Ibusuki Station in the south of the country and can be seen sporting a small hat on the platform.

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