Conservationists go above and beyond to make sure that all kinds of methods are employed for making sure that animals do not become roadkill and their habitats remain intact. That is where wildlife crossings come into play by providing a safe way for animals to cross freeways and other man-made structures in their habitat. Wildlife crossings, also known as animal bridges, are becoming an increasingly used way all over the world for preserving our ecosystems.
In the US alone, according to an estimate; road systems are affecting the ecology of 1/5th of the land area of the country while the animal collisions can cost around $8 billion on a yearly basis. Wildlife crossings including wildlife overpasses and underpasses enable animals to pass over or under the nerve-wracking roadways safely. This way animals are able to continue on their path within their habitat without being blocked by asphalt or concrete.
The earliest wildlife crossings – animal bridges – can be dated back to France during the 1950s. Europe is leading the world when it comes to wildlife crossings with only the Netherlands housing 66 overpasses and ecoducts that impart protection to badgers, boars, and deer. The Netherlands also holds the title for the longest wildlife overpass. The Natuurbrug Zanderji Crailoo measures in at half a mile and crosses a rail line, business park, and sports complex.
During the last three decades, the USA and Canada have actively focused on wildlife crossings for protection of their wildlife. The Banff National park in Alberta features an array of bridges and underpasses that are frequented by animals ever since their construction about 25 years ago. The wildlife crossings are not intended for big mammals only. In fact, there are projects that cater to very different kind of animals too; a bridge on Christmas Island in Australia allows fifty million red crabs to make their way over a busy road while continuing their migratory route. The Nutty Narrows Bridge is located in Washington and is a unique rope bridge designed for helping squirrels make their way through the busy thoroughfare.
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