These Beautiful Bridges Are Just For Animals
by Jess Zimmerman
If we’re going to keep putting roads in the middle of their habitats, animals are sometimes going to need to cross the road. But it’s better for everyone involved if they don’t have to push a button and wait for the light to change, because they don’t have thumbs and nine times out of 10 they’ll just careen into the side of your car. Which is why some highways have overpasses built specifically for animals like deer, elk, and grizzly bears.
Nobody teaches moose pedestrian etiquette like “look both ways,” but they figure out pretty quickly that crossing the terrifying asphalt river is safer if you take the beautiful grassy bridge. That’s just my guess at a moose’s internal life, but there’s data too: In Banff National Park in Canada, animals have used the six overpasses and 35 underpasses more than 200,000 times since monitoring began in 1996…
(read more: Grist.org)
Top - Highway A50, Netherlands (photo: Niels Verheul)
BL - France. BR - Banff, Alberta, Canada (photo: Joel Sartore)
I’m having a CJ moment that pretty much boils down to “how do youmake the animals use the bridges in the first place?”
Animals are far more likely to stay in familiar territory with grass and trees than cross onto asphalt where there’s bright lights and speeding “predators” (ie cars). This is why animals “skulk about in bushes” - they don’t want to be seen by something that might attack them. It’s survival instinct.
Will all animals take these bridges? No. But many will. And the less animals (especially the moose, deer, bear, and other large wildlife) traipsing about the highway the better for everyone (except people that eat roadkill, work with roadkill, etc. I suppose they might not be as pleased.)
(Source: rhamphotheca, via leavestoroots)