Patty Garvey-Darda is a wildlife biologist. She works to protect wildlife from roadway accidents. Every year, there are more than a million of these involving animals and vehicles. That’s according to the Federal Highway Administration.
An overpass for wildlife is built in Washington State in 2016.
CHASE GUNNELL—CONSERVATION NORTHWEST
These accidents kill wildlife. They also kill people. Wildlife crossings are a solution to the problem. People are building bridges and overpasses on big highways. These will help animals cross roads safely. They will keep people and animals from getting hurt.
Wildlife crossings have been built all over the world. In the U.S., they have been built in Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. There is also a major project in Washington State. Garvey-Darda is working on this project. She’s helping to design about 20 wildlife crossings. They are expected to be completed by 2029. At press time, six underpasses had been built for the project. One overpass had been built, too.
Cars stop for a deer as it crosses a street in Boulder, Colorado.
CLIFF GRASSMICK—DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA/BOULDER DAILY CAMERA/GETTY IMAGES
Garvey-Darda says these crossings have made a big difference. “We now have close to 5,000 deer and elk going through the undercrossings,” she told TIME for Kids. “All of these animals were potential accidents.”
How will animals know where to cross? Plants can be grown on wildlife bridges. The plants will attract the animals. Then the animals will cross in safety.
“It’s important to be proactive,” Garvey-Darda says.
Banff National Park, in Alberta, Canada, is a model for wildlife crossings around the world.
EDUCATION IMAGES/UNIVERSAL IMAGE GROUP/GETTY IMAGES
Banff National Park is in Alberta, Canada. It has 38 underpasses and six bridges for wildlife. They were completed in 2014. They are keeping people and animals safe. Today, there are 80% fewer collisions with wildlife at Banff. This is thanks to the wildlife crossings.