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Highway crossings benefit Banff wildlife

Cara J

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Highways cutting through natural landscapes can kill wildlife in vehicle collisions, fragment their habitat and disconnect their populations. Structures built during the past three decades to help animals cross a national highway traversing Banff National Park have proven highly effective in mitigating wildlife deaths and fragmentation, according to an ongoing study by Parks Canada. The agency found a combined reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions and mortality of over 80 percent, and nearly 90 percent for ungulates, since the structures were built. Through 2016, it tallied 165,734 individual animal crossings. “We’re seeing the benefits to maintaining ecological integrity in Banff National Park because of those structures,” said Parks Canada ecosystem scientist Derek Petersen. The TransCanada Highway is an enormous highway running through 82 kilometers of the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park. One vehicle zooms down the thoroughfare every three seconds, Petersen said. Forty-four crossing structures of various design, mostly underpasses, have been tested, implemented and coupled with fencing along the road to help wildlife cope with its impacts. “Nowhere else is there such an intensity of crossing structures and wildlife fencing in one area,” Petersen said. “It’s a real case study for how highways can be mitigated from a wildlife perspective.” [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/highway-crossings-benefit-banff-wildlife/

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