A push for animal-friendly roads

It’s a few days old, but I just came across this interesting Christian Science Monitor story on the subject of road ecology:

The practice brings together transportation planners, scientists, and wildlife activists who plan new road projects to minimize impacts on animals. By using a variety of strategies – from lowered speed limits in wildlife areas to high-tech, vegetated overpasses where cameras monitor animal use – they hope to reduce the number of animals killed and improve road safety for drivers. 

Increased roadkill in national parks and on America’s roads is a serious issue. About 275,000 animal-related crashes occur each year in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An estimated 1 million animals are killed on America’s roads each day.

Scientists and transportation planners are seeking to reverse the trend. For instance, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University is a leader in road ecology. Tony Clevenger, who is a biologist there, recently helped design 24 vegetated wildlife crossings over 30 miles on the Transcanada Highway, which bisects Alaska’s Banff National Park. Those structures helped to cut wildlife mortality by 95 percent since the mid-1980s.

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