Humanity needs to do a lot more to help animals. For many, many years, animal populations have been dwindling thanks to the influence of people. But one thing appearing all over the word is actually helping animals overcome human obstructions.
Usually, if an animal needs to cross a freeway, then they have no choice but to risk their life on the road.
This is an incredibly cruel thing to do to an animal. It just wanted to graze on its land like any other living thing. But humans came along and built a death trap in the middle of it.
Even those who aren’t concerned about animal conservation should consider this lack of safety when it comes to animals on roads worrying.
In the USA, vehicle and animal collisions cost $8 billion per year. That’s a huge sum!
Some think that the only solution is to put up an “animal crossing” sign and hope that drivers would care. But they’re wrong.
A solution has been found in the form of animal bridges.
These are exactly what they sound like. They are overpasses built at parts of a freeway that see heavy amounts of animal crossings.
To help animals use them, they’re often covered in nature.
Not only are they great for animals, but they also look really cool!
But you probably need to be in a helicopter to appreciate one.
Surprisingly, these animal bridges are nothing new.
They date all the way back to the 1950s, when France constructed the first ones.
Since this time, Europe has become a leader in animal bridge installation. Holland currently has 66 different passages for a range of its wildlife. That’s an impressive figure for such a small country!
And among these 66 Dutch passages is the world’s longest animal bridge. It’s called the Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo and stretches across half a mile of railways, rivers and buildings.
But what about North America?
Canada and the USA have been building animal bridges for the last 30 years.
Here’s one in New Jersey:
One of the most impressive animal bridges in America can be found in Washington.
Unlike most animal bridges, the “Nutty Narrows Bridge” is made of rope and lets squirrels cross the road with ease!
But Australia has an animal bridge that is even more unique. It’s significantly smaller than most land bridges and mostly accommodates 50 million red crabs as they go on their migratory route every year. This bridge is to be found on Christmas Island.
In Canada, Banff National Park has gone all out in its animal bridge construction.
It has 44 individual wildlife crossing structures throughout the park. That’s more than any other park in the world! These structures aid 11 large mammal species.
And there’s proof that these structures are effective. Banff National Park has seen an over 80% reduction in animal/vehicle collisions since constructing the animal bridges.
That means that everywhere should install as many animal bridges as possible.
Based on the reduction in collisions in Banff National Park, animal bridge constructions in the USA alone could save $6.4 billion in vehicle repairs every year!
Only car mechanics would be unhappy with that saving!
Luckily, more animal bridges will be opened in America in the future. Washington State is currently building one over Interstate 90. By the fall of 2020, the plants that make the bridges appealing to animals will be planted on this bridge.
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Source: Parks Canada