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Wildlife highway crossings
By Jerry Brownstein
Sweden will build a series of new animal bridges as part of the global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads. Every April Sweden’s main highway comes to a standstill as hundreds of reindeer cross the asphalt on their annual journey to the mountains. Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen “renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings, which will also help moose and lynx to move around the landscape. These renoducts are part of a growing number of wildlife bridges and underpasses around the world that aim to connect fractured habitats.
On the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, underpasses have been used to shield jaguars from traffic. Natural canopy bridges in the Peruvian Amazon have helped porcupines, monkeys and other animals pass over natural gas pipelines. In Los Angeles (US) the largest wild life bridge in the world will be built to help save the mountain lion population from local extinction. Canada’s Banff National Park has overseen one of the most successful uses of wildlife bridges by installing seven overpasses and 41 underpasses on the section of the park that is bisected by the Trans-Canada Highway.