COOL CROSSINGS: Vote for Your Favorite Wildlife Crossing

We have 3.9 million miles of public roads crisscrossing the country, with many running right through prime wildlife habitat. Sadly, millions of birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians are killed by vehicles.

Thankfully, in some places, wildlife experts are helping all sorts of species cross the road in safe – and very clever – ways.

Check out the wildlife crossings below, then VOTE for your favorite. 

Bear Tunnel: A Family Affair

Bear Tunnel

A female grizzly with cubs at wildlife underpass under the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Photo: Parks Canada.

This grizzly bear mom travels safely UNDER the road with her cubs following closely behind. Over the years, this tunnel will become a tradition. The cubs come back to use the very same crossing as adults!

Crab Crossing: Funnel in the Tunnel

Red crab migration - credit Parks Australia

On Australia’s Christmas Island, underground crossings provide safe passage for the annual red crab migration. Photo: Parks Australia.

On Australia’s Christmas Island, tens of millions of crabs make a spectacular pilgrimage from forest to ocean. Unfortunately, 500,000 of them die, many from being crushed by vehicles while crossing roads. Built on main migration paths, these tunnels funnel migrating crabs to safe crossings UNDER roadways.

Desert Tortoise Culvert: Reptiles Under Roads

desert tortoise

Desert tortoise exiting a culvert retrofitted to allow tortoises to cross beneath a highway in the Mohave Desert. Photo: William I. Boarman, U.S. Geological Survey

In the Mohave Desert, tortoises and traffic do not mix, so wildlife experts and transportation officials teamed up to transform culverts (a tunnel carrying a stream or drain under a road) into wildlife passageways. The culverts are now flush to the ground for easy entry and exit. One tortoise took seven hours to get through the underpass!

Wolf Overpass: Lush Path to Safety

Wolf Overpass

Wolf on wildlife overpass over the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Photo Parks Canada.

In 1996, Alberta’s Banff National Park built the very first wildlife crossing in the world over busy TransCanada Highway, the world’s longest national road. The surrounding forest has filled in the overpass. It’s so lush that wildlife like wolves would have no idea they are crossing a major highway. Best part? Accidents and animal deaths are down 80 percent!

Salamander Xing: Taking the Low Road to the Pond

Salamander Crossing

One night every spring, spotted salamanders leave their underground forest homes and migrate to wetland ponds to breed. Oftentimes they are killed crossing roads during migration. Photo: Mark Picard, FHWA

For a few days each spring, on damp and rainy evenings, spotted salamanders migrate from forests to vernal pools to mate and lay eggs. Accidents happen as they try to cross roads on their yearly journey. In Amherst, Mass., the local department of public works teamed with conservation groups, the University of Massachusetts and others to create two underpasses for salamanders, complete with fences to guide the amphibians into the tunnel and openings at the top to provide dampness.

Animals’ Bridge:  Elk Are All Over It

Animals' Bridge

Animals’ Bridge in Montana is used by grizzly and black bears, deer, elk, mountain lions and others. Photo Montana Department of Transportation.

Sometimes the scenery on our road trips is so beautiful, we forget we’re driving right through wildlife habitat. On the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, the “road is a visitor.” The Animals’ Bridge on US93 respects the natural path of wildlife, and has substantially reduced accidents and roadkills.

 

Help Give Wildlife Safe Passage

Thanks for voting and caring about safe passage for animals crossing our many roadways! Right now, mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains just outside Los Angeles are at risk of collapse. Massive highways have fragmented essential habitat which limits breeding options and the ability to roam for food—and led to tragic deaths of mountain lions struck by cars.

Donate NowPlease join with us to create safe wildlife crossings for mountain lions and other species and protect vulnerable wildlife from harm.

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