The Case for Wildlife Crossings
Motorists kill an estimated one to two million large animals every year in the United States. Starre Vartan writes about a remarkably successful method for preventing those deaths: wildlife under- and overpasses.
"Studies that looked at a cross-section of native species' deaths on highways in Florida, bandicoots and wallabies in Australia, and jaguars in Mexico, just to name a few, all show that wildlife crossings save money and lives, both human and animal," according to Vartan.
Yes, humans die, about 200 every year, when they drive their cars into large animals. And all of these collisions are expensive. "Deer-car collisions cost an average of $8,190, an elk-vehicle collision is about $25,319, and a moose-vehicle collision is $44,546, taking into consideration human injuries and death, towing, vehicle repair, investigation of the accident by local authorities, and carcass disposal, according to a paper from the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University."
Vartan highlights one project in Washington State in particular as an example of how the idea of wildlife overpasses are catching on. The news coverage of the story includes lot of on-scene photography by National Geographic photographer Joe Riis.