每日英語跟讀 Ep.K156: How Do Animals Safely Cross a Highway?
The engineers were used to building overpasses for vehicles, not wildlife. But every spring and fall, collisions with mule deer and pronghorn spiked in the Pinedale region of Wyoming, where Route 191 disrupted their age-old migration paths. So the state Department of Transportation joined with the state wildlife agency and nonprofit groups to create a series of crossings. Collisions have dropped by roughly 90%.
“It felt like we finally found something that works,” said Jennifer Hoffman, an engineer at the Wyoming Department of Transportation. “People are pretty hesitant to do something new. Once you’ve done it, and it does what you said it would do, they’re willing to do it more.”
Examples like that, along with earlier success stories from Canada and Europe, have led to a broad consensus on the value of animal crossings, according to environmentalists and transportation officials alike.
“This is the time of the wildlife crossing,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “This issue has been building for decades, and it was like pulling teeth. And now everyone who works on these issues seems to get it.”
Research shows that, across the country, there are 1 to 2 million collisions between vehicles and large animals each year. These accidents cause more than 26,000 human injuries and about 200 human deaths.
Funding for crossings is a challenge, but that may get easier, too: A bipartisan Senate version of the transportation bill being hammered out in Congress includes $350 million for wildlife crossings and corridors.
While transportation officials emphasize that human safety is the main motivation for these new projects, the structures do not come a moment too soon for animals. Development continues to erode wildlife habitat, disrupt migration corridors and fragment groups, leading to population collapse and unhealthy genetic isolation. Looming large is another threat: climate change. As certain species move in search of cooler, moister conditions, they will have to contend with busy roadways.
There are more than 1,000 dedicated wildlife crossings in the United States today, up from just a few in the 1970s and '80s, according to Patricia Cramer, an ecologist who has studied and worked in the field for two decades. But only 10 or 20 are overpasses.
While overpasses tend to get the most attention, underpasses and tunnels are far more common.
- Apple Podcast 2020年十大熱門節目
- KKBox 2020年十大Podcast風雲榜 (唯一語言學習Podcast)
- Himalaya 人氣票選播客總冠軍