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Planet Care

228: Wildlife Conservation corridors

Problem:

Animals once roamed the whole world, as a unique, limitless reserve ruled only by nature. Yet, these wide areas have been interrupted by urbanisation or intensive agriculture and fatal human-animal conflict in the form of vehicle-animal collisions

Solution:

Wildlife corridors


In order to fix human-related damages, wildlife corridors have been created all over the world, i.e. the restoration of interconnected habitats which allow fauna relocation and vegetable species to find resources, such as food and water and genetic exchange. There are two types of corridor:  natural and man-made

The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) is a region that consists of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and some southern states of Mexico. The area acts as a natural land bridge from South America to North America, which is important for species who use the bridge in migration.

Due to the extensive unique habitat types, Mesoamerica contains somewhere between 7 and 10% of the world’s known species. The corridor was originally proposed in the 1990s to facilitate animal movements along the Americas without interfering with human development and land use, while promoting ecological sustainability. The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is made of four parts: Core Zones, Buffer Zones, Corridor Zones, and Multiple-Use Zones, each with varying availability for human use.

The man-assisted solution, known as écoducs or écoponts was first developed in France in the 1950s. It took off in the Netherlands, where more than 600 crossings have been constructed to protect badgers, elk and other mammals.

Among the many man-assisted wildlife passages and corridors to be found today is a network in Banff National Park, Canada. Starting with the first two wildlife overpasses, there is not a total of 44 wildlife crossing structures — six overpasses and 38 underpasses — along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park and another 10 wildlife underpasses along highways in Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

They are used by deer, moose, and bears. To date, conservationists have documented more than 152,000 animals crossing the highway using either the bridges or the underpasses. They have also reduced the number of wildlife vehicle collisions by about 80 per cent.

The biggest wildlife corridor in the world is currently being designed, and it will stretch over US Highway 101 to northwest Los Angeles and connect parts of the Santa Monica Mountain chain.

The corridor will make it easier for mountain lions and other animals to roam freely through different parts of the mountains without the dangers of human interference. Designers of the corridor chose to create a bridge surrounded by brush and trees, which extends 165 feet over a 10-lane freeway.

It is supposed to blend seamlessly with the mountains, so the animals don’t realize they’re on a bridge at all.  The project, which is in its final phase of design, costs $87 million and was slated to open in 2023.

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