Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

October 11, 2013

Conservation Corridors


(L ) A Black Bear underpass near our home in Florida   (R) An animal Bridge, the Flathead Reservation in Montana
Picture credit: (L) Florida DOT     Picture credit: (R) Djembayz

To some people, they are a supreme waste of money, to animals, they are their only hope in a daily battle with vehicles to get across dangerous roadways.
When humans, cars and concrete came into their worlds, animals had no clue of the dangers that came with them, so sadly, they have been killed by the thousands all over the country, indeed, the world.
Now new safety precautions are available to stop the collisions between wildlife and cars speeding down our highways, they are called conservation corridors and here in Florida, they might just be the difference between extinction and survival for our beloved Florida Panther.
Over the past decade entirely too many Panthers have been killed by the cars invading their ever-shrinking world.
With houses, condos, shopping centers and the like crowding them into smaller and smaller habitats, is it any wonder that they are trying to move away?
Not to mention that their gene pool is becoming severely limited due to the lack of available mates.
These conservation corridors will enable not only the Panthers, but bears and many other types of wildlife to safely get over, under or around the traffic that can and does end their lives everyday.
The many protective wildlife passageways, also known as corridors or culverts, have been in place across America and the world, since the mid 1900′s and have proven to be quite successful.
Not only do wildlife crossings save animals lives, they also prevent and avoid serious crashes which take many human lives as well.
Why then, when so much good comes out of these wildlife crossings elsewhere, is there any opposition against them here?
You guessed it, it is all about the money.
Some with the authority and the connections to put the brakes on them, claim that spending so much to build them, is an outrageous expense, when times are so tough for everybody.
But since so often, cars are involved as well, how much is a human life worth?
I dare not ask these people about the worth of an animal’s life, because I already know the answer.
It seems like we always have endless sums of money for funding endless conflicts worldwide, or helping to either put in place, or overthrow various governments in countries where we will be well rewarded in one way or another.
Animals cannot vote or write checks to fund political campaigns, they are simply on this earth for us to admire, take delight in and protect when necessary.
Everyday, animals must make choices and cross busy roads to get to their food, sometimes it is the last one that they will ever make.
At some point in each of our lives, we all must make choices and these decisions will remain in our hearts long after the actions have been taken.
You can make a difference in their lives, be concerned,  get involved, but most of all, care!
Will you deliberately go out of your way to do something to make an animal’s life safer or better today?

Here are a few facts to feed your brain:
Wildlife Will Pass Under I-4
A quite comprehensive PDF report on the subject:
Existing Structures for Terrestrial Wildlife
The generic definition at Wiki:  
Wildlife and Roads
Wildlife Vehicle Collisions

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