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Corridors key to protecting species, conservationists say

Cara J

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From monarchs to grizzlies, America’s wildlife is dwindling due to climate change and habitat destruction, conservationists said at a conference this week in Washington, and wildlife corridors are crucial to preserving the country’s imperiled species. “Habitat loss is the largest factor,” said Bruce Stein, associate vice president with the National Wildlife Federation, noting that a fifth of American species are threatened with extinction and a third are vulnerable. “Much of the remaining habitat is fragmented, disconnecting natural populations.” The United States is home to five of the world’s longest-distance migrators — moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus canadensi), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), bison (Bison bison) and pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) — and wildlife corridors are helping them evade man-made obstructions, said Jon Beckmann, connectivity initiative coordinator at the Wildlife Conservation Society. A Wyoming overpass resulted in an 85 percent drop in vehicle collisions with pronghorn, he said. “It is a question of whether we collectively have the will to prioritize the rest of life and our species by protecting biodiversity,” said Greg Costello, executive director of Wildlands Networks. The event took place Tuesday at the Capitol Visitor Center on the inaugural Half-Earth Day, a concept promoted by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson to [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/corridors-key-to-protecting-species-conservationists-say/

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