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Wildlife Bridges Over Busy Roads Are Saving Animal Lives Across The World

by : Lucy Connolly on : 08 Jun 2019 12:55
Wildlife bridgesWikimedia/Flickr

If anyone’s feeling a bit down on this dreary Saturday, don’t worry because I’ve got your back.

Wildlife bridges are a thing and they’re saving all kinds of animals from meeting an untimely end in road collisions every day.

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Rather than risk their lives by crossing busy roads and inevitably getting hit by vehicles, animals such as deer can now cross safely by walking along bridges made specifically for them.

Wildlife bridgeWikimedia

As per the National Geographic, a total of 106 animals were killed in car collisions along one stretch of highway in Utah over a period of two years – including 98 deer, three moose, and two elk.

In fact, there are 21 threatened and endangered species in the US whose survival is threatened by road mortalities every day, with Key deer in Florida and bighorn sheep in California among those.

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It isn’t just animals who are hurt in these collisions either; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 200 people die every year in more than one million animal-car collisions in America.

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The most famous Green Bridge in the country leaps the Mile End Park across the A11 in a single bound. . It’s a win-win for plants and people, and a trophy for public consultations. That’s because at the first @towerhamletsnow community planning weekend for the park back in 1995, a local resident suggested a green bridge to unite the park over the Mile End Road, and another local resident picked it up and ran with it. . It helped that the latter was Piers Gough – of @czwgarchitects, who went on to design the bridge, and which opened in 1999. . The 32-acre Mile End Park was created from derelict and WWII bomb damaged East End. It enjoyed a facelift in 2012 and has an art pavilion (fabulous and free), Children’s Park, Leisure Centre and stadium @better_uk, outdoor gym and @mileendclimbing. . Also, the wonderfully idiosyncratic Palm Tree pub is in the park, as is the @eastlondonliquorcompany, and this being cool East London, the atmospheric Ariana Afghan restaurant too. Who knew, but it even seems that the park’s wild flower meadows and woodland is home to two species of spider not found anywhere else, plus the remarkably rare Streaked Bombardier Beetle. The Friends of Mile End Park don’t have an active Instagram account, but you can find out what’s going on at fomep.org.uk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #eastlondoncool #eastlondon #eastend #eastlondonlife #eastendlife #visitlondon #mileend #mileendpark #londonparks #urbanpark #greenbridge #landscapebridge #wildlifebridges #wildlifeoverpass #overpass #czwgarchitects #mottmacgroup #freelondon #londonforfamilies #londonwithchildren #quirkylondon #urbanarchitecture #bridge #architecture #a11 #mileendroad #towerhamlets

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The problem only seems to be getting worse, with Rob Ament, the road ecology programme manager at the Western Transportation Institute (WTI), confirming the number of these fatal crashes is growing.

Ament said, as per the National Geographic:

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Over the most recently reported 15-year period, wildlife-vehicle collisions have increased by 50 percent, with an estimated one to two million large animals killed by motorists every year.

Don’t fret though, because wildlife bridges are saving lives all over the place by decreasing collisions between cars and animals crossing the road – and they’re here to stay.

Such crossings have been popular in Europe since the 1950s, when the first one was built in France, but are now popping up worldwide. And I’m all here for it.

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Ament continued:

You can get reductions [of animal road collisions] of 85 to 95 per cent with crossings and fencing that guide animals under or over highways.

Usually, the bridges look like normal ones which cars would be able to use. That is, until you get closer and notice the shrubs and greenery.

Undercrossings also exist, which pass underneath highways to help smaller animals that might be invisible to drivers – for example, gold monkeys and pumas are making use of them in Brazil and water voles are using those in London.

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See, I told you I’d brighten your day. We must protect them at all costs.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Life, Nature, wildlife

Credits

National Geographic
  1. National Geographic

    How wildlife bridges over highways make animals—and people—safer