This too shall pass: The wildlife crossings saving lives—animals and people

In Vermont, a study using trail cameras and other monitoring identified a specific corridor within Green Mountain National Forest where the highway disrupts forest blocks of habitat for large mammals like black bears and moose, and for small aquatic creatures like salamanders and turtles. Meanwhile, the roads endangered the vitality of their population in the area, leading to a high mortality rate. Nerd trivia alert: It takes the spotted salamander a lengthy 88 seconds to cross a road… long enough for an unpalatable end.

It’s hoped that the $1.6 million given to the Vermont Agency of Transportation will help alleviate these issues as planners design an underpass along Interstate 89 and US Route 2 near the Waterbury-Bolton town line.

In Texas, the grant award is focused on the ocelot, an endangered species of unique cats breeding only in South Texas when it comes to the US. The ocelots’ road crossing and fragmented thorn scrub habitat within Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge puts the species at risk of extinction, and the $1.8 million award will install multiple underpass crossings near Los Fresnos.

While critter crossings are not new internationally, this new funding boosts US efforts in improving the conservation of wildlife. Thus, the question is no longer why did the chicken cross the road, but how…

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