Conservationists and architects are creating animal crossings over busy highways for our wildlife friends. These wildlife crossings reduce fatalities for both wild animals and humans alike.
Road systems are necessities for public transport and street networks are indeed convenient for humans.
However, roads and highways have proved to do more harm than good to animals. Every year, despite countless road signs, thousands of wild animals die from vehicle collisions in the US alone.
Ever since road networks were constructed in the wild, animals have been exposed to potential dangers when moving from one place to another.
Highways often cut off wildlife from resources they rely on for survival, leaving them with little choice other than to attempt to traverse busy roads.
For such reasons, wildlife crossings are built to let these wild animals cross man-made roads safely.
How do Animal Bridges Work?
Wildlife crossings are in the form of bridges, overpasses, underpass tunnels, and ecoducts, and they provide safe passageways for animals to cross over public roads.
With these safe routes, animals won’t have to access busy roads or highways anymore. They can safely cross over or under these structures to move on to their path.
According to Rob Ament, an expert in the field of ecology, animal crossings and fencing can reduce collisions from 85 percent to 95 percent, and guide animals under or over highways.
Just as bridges keep humans out of danger on highways, these animal crossings are nearly similar.
Who’s Building Animal Bridges?
The first wildlife crossing was constructed in the 1950s. France built several animal bridges to protect both animals and humans from vehicle collisions.
When it comes to animal bridges, Europe definitely leads the way. Apart from France, the Netherlands also has more than 600 overpasses and ecoducts for deer, boars, and badgers.
In fact, the Netherlands takes pride in having the longest wildlife overpass in the world, called Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo, which stretches 800 meters in length. It overpasses the massive N525 highway and nearby rail lines.
Canada and the US have also begun paying more attention to building animal bridges. For the last 25 years, both countries have built several bridges for animals.
For example, the Banff National Park in Alberta, which features a network of bridges and underpasses for wildlife animals.
Also, an underpass beneath Highway 160 between Durango and Bayfield in Colorado was completed in 2016. Remote photos show the passageway is used by deer, coyotes, raccoons, and other small animals every day.
Joe Lewandowski, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife noted:
“Roads all over the state run right through these migration paths, when they go back and forth, a lot of animals are hit on the highway every year. There are many needs in transportation across the state, and this is just one of them.”
Animal bridges are steps in the right direction for creating harmony between modernization and animal life.
Animal habitats will no doubt continue to become more fragmented in the future, but with these bridges in place, road fatalities between animal-vehicle collisions will continue to decrease.
1. This wildlife crossing can be found under a highway in Finland
2. This tree-covered pass is in Singapore
3. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
4. Wildlife overpass in the Netherlands
5. Deer use a Colorado ecoduct
6. The only bridge on Christmas Island, Australia, is to facilitate crab migration from the rain forest to the ocean
7. A wildlife crossing in Germany
8. The Flathead Reservation Overpass near Evaro, Montana
9. Seen in the underpass through the Flathead Indian Reservation
10. The Colorado Highway 9 Overpass
11. An elephant underpass in Kenya
12. Cockatoos occupy a rope bridge meant for squirrels in Victoria, Australia
13.As seen in Keechelus Lake, Washington
14. An ecoduct in the Netherlands
15. A wildlife crossing in Belgium
16. A turtle tunnel under train tracks in Japan
17. An animal bridge in New Jersey
18. Cattle travel through an underpass in Victoria, Australia
19. Wildlife bridge in Brisbane, Australia
20. A grizzly bear emerges from an underpass after crossing the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, Canada
21. Nutty Narrows Bridge in Longview, Washington
22. An overpass reconnecting the forest in Banff National Park, Canada
23. A rope bridge over a roadway in Brazil
24. Blue Penguin Underpass In New Zealand
26 A Green Wildlife Bridge Over An Autobahn In Germany