Wildlife bridges or “green” bridges are reducing the number of wildlife-related traffic incidents and providing safe pathways for animals.
In the United States, there are more than a million automobile accidents each year involving wildlife. Our expansive network of interstates and highways cuts off the natural animal pathways disrupting habitats and populations. With natural corridors blocked, crossing the road is dangerous. Sadly, it is deadly for animals and people. It is also expensive. The annual cost is more than $8 billion in medical expenses and vehicle repairs.
We all know the saying, “Why did the chicken cross the road…or deer or bear or elk or any other wildlife? To get to the other side.” But what if natural wildlife crossings are blocked?
In their attempt to get to the other side, animals are being killed and losing access to large parts of their living space. Animals without sufficient connected habitats end up with difficulty finding food and mates. A population needs enough connected habitat to be healthy and sustainable.
The good news, we can do something about it and we are.
We are creating special-purpose natural wildlife bridges to reconnect natural habitats.
Wildlife Crossing Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana
Established in 1885 this wildlife reservation covers 1,938 square miles of wilderness. It is home to hundreds of species of mammals and birds. This crossing is essential to maintaining the flow of wildlife in the region.
The concept of building wildlife bridges or “green crossings” came about in France in the 1950s.
Here are a few examples:
- The Dutch built the world’s longest animal crossing, the Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo, an overpass that spans more than 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles).
- Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada provides 6 overpasses and 38 underpasses for wildlife to cross the Trans-Canada Highway.
- Arizona has built at least 20 wildlife passageways, reducing animal-related traffic accidents by 90%.
- Washington state is completing a wildlife bridge over Interstate I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass.
We invite you to visit wildlife bridges or “green crossings” around the globe through our OPL INSIGHT interactive map.