Slow down! Animals Crossing The Road
~ by Loyal Clarke
At Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, our number one goal is to get the animals back to their native habitats.
Sadly, that is not always possible due to injuries from which the animals cannot fully recover. The majority of the wildlife we receive at the sanctuary is the result of accidents involving motor vehicles. The Costanera highway, which passes through the Southern zone, cuts through an important biological corridor. Historically, animals such as monkeys, sloths, felines and others could pass freely through this corridor. Now, with the paved, two and three-lane highway, it is dangerous for them to cross.
During the summer months (December through May), it is especially hazardous with the increase in traffic. Local organizations have sponsored and/or constructed underpasses and “monkey bridges” over the road to reduce these roadway fatalities and injuries. Still, you see a lot of wildlife trying to cross over the road.
During our tours and educational presentations at the sanctuary, we are often asked, “What can we do to help prevent these accidents?”
One of the biggest causes of accidents is excessive speed; the speed limits are also for the animals that call this area their home. Beware of these corridors and especially vigilant at night, as many animals are nocturnal. Secondly, trash thrown out along the highway or left beside the road will draw them into high-risk areas because animals seek out easy sources of food.
People can also petition local community organizations, businesses, and government agencies to help install additional wildlife overpasses and underpasses and to create signage, warning others that animals can frequently be found in the roadway.
Most importantly, spread the word! One of the most important efforts at the sanctuary is education, teaching methods of conservation, and increasing people’s awareness of the amazing diversity of wildlife in the Southern zone.
Hopefully, the more people that know and act, the incidences of these tragic occurrences can be reduced.
INFO: Loyal Clarke – Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary