Wildlife crossings or bridges or walkways over & under highways make animals - and people - safer. Bridges for bears, elk, moose and even tunnels for tortoises have significantly reduced the number of wildlife-car collisions worldwide.
Such a simple concept, why didn't we think of it earlier? The earliest recorded man-made animal bridge was erected in the 1950s to help hunters guide deer. Since then, wildlife-crossing designs have spread worldwide.
As Banff's famed wildlife overpasses turn over 20 years old, the world looks to Canada for conservation inspiration. These innovative structures are heralded for having opened migration corridors and save countless animals (and humans) from vehicle collisions. Banff National Park has the most numerous and varied wildlife crossing structures in the world.
From a distance, the grey cement bridge looks unremarkable. Two tunnels on either side of the Trans Canada Highway arc in semi-circles that end bluntly on the pavement below. But on top, away from passing motorists' eyes, lies a grassy oasis. Against the odds, pine trees and wildflowers have taken root here, giving the overpass a fringe of greenery. On the edges, wire fencing provides safe passage for roaming animals. There are now over 38 wildlife underpasses and 6 overpasses from Banff National Park's east entrance to the border of Yoho National Park.
And they're not just in Canada. Countries such as the Netherlands (over 66) Germany, US, and Belgium have them too.
Wildlife crossings are designed to be inexpensive (so there can be many) and natural-looking so as to not frighten the animals. A practice in habitat conservation, they allow connections or reconnections between habitats and combat against habitat fragmentation.
So if you'r ever lucky enough to visit Banff National Park, keep your eyes up for these structures so you don't miss them. You might even see a crossing of wildlife if you're lucky.
Pretty amazing... I'm a fan!