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Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Note on Animal Crossings

Posted by on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 9:47 AM

While crossing a pedestrian bridge in the middle of a big city...


...I recalled this comment made by Ted Zoli, a structural engineer:
"We spend $8 billion a year running over wildlife. If we took that cost and quartered it, we could build 200 animal crossings a year, and the problem of roadkill would disappear within a generation.
Europe has lots of these crossings for wild animals, and they appear to be very effective, reducing "roadkill by as much as 90-100%." The reason we have so few crossing structures in the US?
“We could easily say today that wildlife crossings are no longer design or technical challenges. We have every capacity to implement these structures. What we really need is political, economic and social leadership.”
So it's only the powers of unreason that prevent us from building these beautiful crossings that are good for animals in the woods and animals in cars.


Comments (18) RSS

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Zebes 1
"What we need are for people to start giving a fuck."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha that is never ever going to happen.
Posted by Zebes on July 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Mike 2
There's a problem with wildlife crossings: predators quickly figure out how they work and use them as fast food joints, which causes all the same problems for them as our fast food does for us. This is to say nothing of the fact that the crossings are still quite lethal for the prey species that use them.

I suspect that predator-poor Europe has less trouble with this phenomenon, but I don't know.
Posted by Mike on July 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
So many things wrong with this.

* the primary purpose of wildlife crossings is not preventing roadkill but preventing habitat segmentation. For every animal that gets run over, there are many more who refuse to cross, thus missing out on necessary areas for feeding, reproduction, etc.

* the effectiveness of wildlife crossings is not automatic, and depends on many factors, none of which this Ted Zoli appears to be aware of.

* Ted has no data to back up his claims.

* The US (and Canada) is in actual fact spending tons of money already constructing wildlife crossings all over the place, suggesting that Mr. Zoli's complaint is motivated by his own desire, perhaps, to step into that "political, economic and social leadership" himself, presumably with a comfortable salary. Or is he merely miffed that he's not getting the contracts?

* There are tons of very smart and talented people studying wildlife crossings, where to put them, what to make them out of, how to make them more effective, and so on. Five seconds on Google will reveal this. Ted Zoli's name doesn't seem to come up, possibly because he doesn't appear to be a part of the solution.
Posted by Fnarf on July 19, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
The real problem is getting the damned deer to stop jaywalking. I ask you, is it really that hard for them to press the button for the damn signal? Sheesh.
Posted by NateMan on July 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 5
The effect of rail must be far greater.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on July 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
One of those pithy quotes attached to a graphic on Facebook is probably not a good citation.
Posted by LMcGuff on July 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Olo 7
For every hunter that inflicts Darwinian justice with firearms, there are a hundred lazier hunters who prefer to cull the herd with their cars. This country loves distributing death.
Posted by Olo on July 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Posted by T-O-M Tom on July 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 9
@1: America.

Posted by Max Solomon on July 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
@8 That was great. Who'd want to run over a turtle?
Posted by floater on July 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Posted by cliche on July 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 12
Bailo: please go be stupid somewhere else. The financial cost of wildlife strikes is in damage, injury, and deaths to motorists and their vehicles.

Trains, not so much. Locomotives, unlike the family Buick, are not even dented whe they strike wildlife.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
@5 I'm not sure why you'd think so. From an economic perspective trains don't give a shit when they hit animals, even larger ones, while cars can be completely wrecked by larger animals and can veer into other vehicles to avoid smaller animals. From an ecological perspective the sheer width of major highways and the frequency of cars passing is exponentially greater then that of rail lines. Did you even think about what you were saying before you posted it?
Posted by Hanging in C.C on July 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 14
@13: It isn't clear that Bailo tries very hard to think much at all.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 15
If we had political, economic and social leadership, we'd vaccinate our kids. And give them a non-joke education. And health care.

And then fix the roadkill problem.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on July 19, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Fistique 16
I never see any wildlife crossings in Scotland. But then, it's not exactly famous for its well-maintained roads and transport infrastructure.
Posted by Fistique on July 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Um, hello: The new Highway Bill that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed last week includes provisions that encourage efforts to connect wildlife habitat and improve the saftey of drivers and critters. And new wildlife crossings are being built across I-90. We may get as good as Europe soon.
Posted by IslandGuy on July 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 18
Granite Falls has two spiffy new wildlife crossings thanks to your friendly Public Works department.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this

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