Helping Animals Cross the Road, One Overpass at a Time
Life is hard enough for wild animals to survive. On top of their daily struggle to find food for themselves and their families, mankind has encroached on their space just about everywhere. Not only with our homes but a big problem for wild animals are the roads crisscrossing through their wilderness habitats. Millions of animals are killed every year by being hit by cars and trucks while trying to cross over a highway. But in some countries like Canada, extra care has been taken to try to slow down these unfortunate deaths.
In Canada, where wildlife is abundant and plays a significant role in daily life, particularly in remote northern regions of the country, the Canadians have found a remedy. They have constructed wildlife overpasses to allow bears, moose, elk and other animals to cross major roadways safely and securely. For example in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, since monitoring began in 1996, wild animals have crossed the 35 underpasses and six overpasses more than 200,000 times.
Of course this doesn’t account for those animals that don’t cross safely, or that aren’t near the overpass to take advantage, but it’s encouraging nonetheless. Especially in the case where highways are heavy with constant traffic or are hundreds of miles long and cut between an animal’s migration path or a major water or food source. These animals are forced to cross a busy roadway simply because they know no other way or get confused and act out of pure instinct or fear.
There is definitely a need to remedy this problem to reduce the loss of life on our wildlife. Since we have created the vehicles and massive road networks, we as responsible human beings should have the responsibility to find a solution to this problem. Wildlife overpasses are a good place to start and they’re in the best interest of humans and animals alike. After all, we are coinhabitants of this Earth and animals have just as much right to move around freely as we do.