Wildlife Crossings Protect Animals and Save Human Lives Across U.S.

Wildlife crossings are being built across the US to safely connect animal habitats and prevent dangerous collisions, with the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in LA set to be the largest. These structures are proven to reduce accidents, save lives, and enjoy widespread public support.

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Wildlife Crossings Protect Animals and Save Human Lives Across U.S.

Wildlife Crossings Protect Animals and Save Human Lives Across U.S.

Wildlife crossings, including overpasses and underpasses, are being built across the United States to help animals safely traverse busy roadways and prevent dangerous collisions with vehicles. Approximately 1,500 of these structures have already been constructed in 43 states, protecting both wildlife and human lives.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Los Angeles, set to be completed by 2026, will be the largest wildlife corridor in the country. Spanning 200 feet across 10 lanes of the 101 Freeway, it will allow mountain lions, foxes, and other animals to safely cross one of the busiest highways in the nation. This $90 million project has attracted widespread public support and is seen as a model for future wildlife crossings.

Other successful projects include the network of overpasses and underpasses along Interstate 90 in Washington state, a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service and state transportation departments. In 2022 alone, over 5,000 animal crossings were recorded in this area, demonstrating the effectiveness of these structures in providing safe passage for wildlife.

Why this matters: Deer-vehicle collisions cause over 2.1 million incidents annually in the U.S., resulting in $10 billion in economic losses, 59,000 human injuries, and 440 human deaths. Wildlife crossings not only protect animals and maintain genetic diversity, but also significantly reduce these hazardous and costly collisions.

The federal government has recognized the importance of these projects, providing $350 million in grants to states for building wildlife crossings. "This is a huge step forward," said Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, who sponsored the legislation. "These crossings will protect both wildlife and motorists, and they have the added benefit of reducing commute times by preventing collisions."

As more wildlife crossings are built across the country, they are proving to be an effective solution to the long-standing issue of animal-vehicle collisions. By allowing animals to safely cross roads and highways, these structures are protecting wildlife, saving human lives, and attracting broad public support as a rare bipartisan issue.

Key Takeaways

  • Wildlife crossings are being built across the U.S. to prevent animal-vehicle collisions.
  • The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in LA will be the largest wildlife corridor in the country.
  • Wildlife crossings have reduced hazardous and costly deer-vehicle collisions by over 2.1 million annually.
  • The federal government has provided $350 million in grants to states for building wildlife crossings.
  • Wildlife crossings protect both wildlife and motorists, and reduce commute times by preventing collisions.