The Swedish Transport Administration recently announced the completion of an ecoduct over the E6 in Skåne in southern Sweden. The animal crossing path is the agency’s third in the country. In January, Sweden announced plans to set up several reindeer crossings to help the animals cross the dense network of roads.
These bridges and underpasses, also called ecoducts, are being established globally to help animals thrive in regions with dense road networks. United States President Joe Biden has already allocated $350 million of his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan to building wildlife crossings.
In southern California, plans are underway to begin the construction of the world’s largest wildlife crossing bridge in 2022. The bridge will help isolated mountain lions cross thick road networks in the state. These structures will help reduce the high rate of wildlife collisions across the U.S.
It is estimated that about 1 to 2 million crashes between cars and large wild animals, such as deer, occur every year. These result in over 26,000 injuries, 200 human deaths, and huge losses in terms of property damage and wildlife deaths. The crashes contribute to a reduction in animal populations, including endangered species.
“Ten years ago, wildlife bridges were experimental. We didn’t know whether they would work or not. Now they’ve shown they get huge reductions in collisions. In some cases, 85% to 99% reductions,” said Rob Ament, a road ecology expert at Montana State University. “You can design them for many species. Even out in the plains, we’re getting moose crossings in North Dakota.”
Today, wildlife bridges are found nearly everywhere in the world. There are organized animal crossing structures on all continents, and more are coming soon. Notable structures globally include the elephant crossing underpass near Mount Kenya in Kenya and The Alligator Alley in Florida, which helps alligators, deer and the endangered Florida panther cross the roads across the Everglades.
Other wildlife crossings include the “tunnel of love” in Australia and India’s tiger corridor. All these ecoduct projects provide safe passage for diverse animal species. In Costa Rica, canopy bridges made of thick ropes help sloths and monkeys cross the roads and avoid attacks from dogs.
Via The Guardian
Lead image via Pixabay