MAY 24, 2017 07:10 AM PDT

How did the chicken cross the road? In a animal-friendly tunnel, that's how!

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Did you know that in just the US about 1 million animals loose their lives as roadkill EVERY DAY? That's a lot of chickens that aren't making it across the road. But it's also a lot of deer, squirrels, skunks, turtles, snakes, rabbits, moose, and more! Roads, especially highways, are some of the most unintentional (on our part) barriers to animal movement and migration that exist - and yet they severely inhibit wildlife's ability to reach new regions and unite with others of their species for important life events such as mating, giving birth, and group migration.

But roads aren't the only blocks for animals. Many birds and insects avoid high-tension power lines and many hoofed animals are frightened to cross linear features such as clear-cut corridors, pipelines, rock walls, and spray-painted lines on sports fields. If many individuals become stranded and isolated from food, mates, and shelter, entire populations can dwindle because of decreased diversity in the gene pool, leaving them more vulnerable to disease and bad genetic mutations. But it is unlikely that humans will revert back to the road-less, power-less ages any time soon, so instead there is another solution to help animals who are having difficulty crossing the road.

Engineers have developed animal-friendly strategies, including bridge-like overpasses and tunnels which animals can use to cross tricky intersections. Elephants can go underground while crabs and deer can cross a bridge, while turtles can follow channels under railroad tracks. To see some more cases, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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