Bridges for Animals Across The World
Bridges for animals to cross highways around the world help both us and the animals. As we become more and more connected, our animal friends are not. With each new highway built, the land it passes through gets more and more fragmented, stranding animals on one side or the other, never beeing able to cross over.
We are not talking about regular roads, of course, but real highways which have fences on both sides. Many animals have their home over those lands, and many of them are migratory. If there is nowhere to pass to the other side, the animals remain where they are, often times with dire results.
Just in the US alone, it is estimated that one-fifth of all animal habitat is fragmented in this way. What’s more, collisions between cars and wild animals account for about $8 billion in damages every year. This is where these animal bridges come into play. Wildlife overpasses, as they are officially called, offer safe passage for animals to traverse a highway, without risking their own lives or the lives of the drivers.
The first of this animal bridges was designed and constructed in France during the 1950’s, and ever since then, Europe has been a leader in the total number of these over or underpasses. Ony in the Netherlands alone, there are 66 such overpasses and ecoducts that help protect the lives and habitats of beavers, boars, and deer. The Netherlands also has the longest animal bridge in the world. It is over half-mile long and goes over a rail line, a river, a business park, and a sports complex.
The US and Canada have also stepped up their own game in recent decades. But not only big animals like bears, deer, or wolves are the ones who suffer from ecosystem fragmentation. On Christmas Island in Australia, every year over 50 million red crabs emerge from their burrows scattered all across the island and head to the sea on their migratory route. Fortunately, however, people have built them overpasses too.
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