Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Critter Crossings" (1)

Why did the animal cross the road? To get to the other side for food, mating, and breeding. How do they cross the road? With great difficulty, since many are hit by cars and trucks daily. Add up all those deaths, and you realize that whole species are becoming extinct.

Most people do not want to hurt an animal. They would rather swerve than to hit one. Others do not want a deer crashing into their windshields, and having to pay for the damage. However, we can all agree on a solution to provide safe crossings for animals.

While many of us consider large animals like deer, the smaller ones such as toads and salamanders also need our help. Even squirrels seeking nuts would prefer a car free future. With our friends and neighbors, we can arrive at simple solutions for benefiting both ourselves and the animals.

It could be as simple as a sign declaring “Salamander Crossing”. In Scotland, rope bridges were constructed to help endangered red squirrels to cross safely over the road. In the Dismal Swamp of Virginia, road crews provided large underground culverts for foxes and other mammals to use. In Poolsville, Maryland, the local people collect salamanders and carry them to their breeding ponds.


Photo by William Boarman

To record the movement of desert tortoises through this underpass, researchers adapted a computerized tracking system that until then had been used mostly to census fish.
- picture caption

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