Every year, it is estimated that up to one percent of animals go extinct every year. Putting aside that about 10,000 new animal species are discovered per year, one percent of the total number of animal species alive is about 2,000. Ergo, up to 2,000 species disappear forever every single year. To help prevent further extinction of animal species, we have designated portions of land to become wildlife reserves, places where animals are able to flourish in their natural habitat. Probably the latest example of this is when President Barack Obama pursued wilderness protection for Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Unfortunately, we are one of the major causes for the extinction of animal species, too. Though it is common to link such to topics like cultural views and sport hunting, sometimes contributing to a species’ extinction may be by accident. This is the case for people killing animals with their vehicles that are crossing roads that cut through wildlife areas, especially reserves. In that respect, California sees the aforementioned incident as a problem on their 101 highway. Therefore, they have proposed the largest wildlife overpass going over the highway so that animals may cross safely.
According to the Los Angeles Times, state agencies, elected officials, and wildlife advocates have pushed for the building of a wildlife overpass at a part of the 101 Highway. It would be near an urban development where the land used to be a continuous habitat for animals. Because of the development, animals — especially large cats — are having to relocate. However, the 101 Highway is considered a huge barrier for them thus making the wildlife overpass a necessity.
It should be noted that despite the good intentions, construction of the wildlife overpass would be a tantamount endeavor, according to details about the project provided by Inhabitat. The 101 Highway consists of ten lanes of pavement, including exit lanes. So to make the wildlife overpass actually useful for animals per se, it will need to be 165-foot wide and 200-foot long with landscaping. Of course, such a project will carry a large price tag estimated between $33 million to $38 million as shown in feasibility reports from the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. Then to top it off, it will take two years to build the wildlife overpass itself.
Either it be viewed as a waste or good use of taxes, it will surely be a blessing for wildlife animals. Since 2002, it was estimated a dozen big cats were struck and killed by motorists on the 101 Highway. This includes a male puma that was hit near Liberty Canyon two years ago. And that’s just big cats. Who knows how many others from different animal species were killed.
[Featured Image via Resource Conservation District, Post Image via Wikipedia Commons]