Animal overpasses and underpasses have been popping up all over the planet and it’s turning out to be a big win for everybody! Not only are they saving millions of dollars in vehicle repairs, these crossings are saving the lives of both Humans and Animals. From Australia, to Europe and North America these safe crossings are being used quite frequently.
Animals are smarter than you think. The most accessible detailed report on wildlife crossings studied was compiled in Banff, Alberta, Canada. When first introduced the crossings seemed quite unpopular amongst the animals. But as the animals had time to get used to the crossings, the use of them soared. The crossings in Banff are very closely monitored by wildlife officials who use all kinds of methods to keep track of which animals are using the crossings and when. There are motion sensitive cameras in place at several of the locations including the landmark multi-million dollar overpass where this breathtaking photo was taken of the extremely rare and elusive Lynx.
These crossings are also a huge benefit to Humans and have even proven to be profitable when taking into account the amount of money saved that would have been spent on vehicle repairs and medical expenses after vehicle collisions with animals. Deer-vehicle collisions lead to about 200 human deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage every year in the U.S. (Wikipedia).
Our money is well spent on projects like these. As travelers we all understand the importance of freedom. While our highways may provide freedom for us, they are at the same time limiting it for animals. Larger animals such as Bears, Cougars, Deer, Elk and countless others depend on large territories to sustain their lives. When roads intersect with that territory, they either have to risk crossing it or stay confined to one side of it. Both of those solutions put the animal’s survival at risk.
All information about the Banff crossing was taken from Parks Canada website http://www.pc.gc.ca.
Written by: Michael Faulds