A young Florida black bear triggers an infrared trail camera on a cattle ranch in central Florida. The Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition was inspired by this particular population of black bears and their wide ranging movements throughout a connected network of public conservation and private agricultural lands. Photo by Carlton Ward Jr./ Carlton Ward Photography
Wildlife Corridors can Prevent Tragic Car Accidents
Highways are an essential part of the infrastructure in developed parts of the world. They connect our human world, enabling commerce and conveying us over, around, and through landscape obstacles like waterways and mountains. While they’re important in our world, to wildlife they introduce many challenges, and are often deadly obstacles.
In recent days reports from South Florida describe a tragic scene in which a Florida Black Bear was struck by a car traveling a remote Broward County road at night. When Good Samaritans stopped to assist they were struck by a third vehicle, resulting in the deaths of three people. These types of tragedies are rare, but unfortunately, wildlifecollisions are not that rare and come at a high cost. Every year in North America, collisions between motorists andwildlife result in over $8 billion in property damage, health care, and lost revenue associated with game animals.
These tragedies can be addressed with road mitigation projects to funnel wildlife under, over, and through our road networks and human infrastructure. The state of Florida was one of the very first states to build wildlifeunderpasses, long ago recognizing their importance to stopping the loss of life, and in the creation of WildlifeCorridors. But still more underpasses are needed to keep Florida’s wildlife connected.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor encompasses nearly 16 million acres of minimally-developed land and about 2 million acres deemed “critical linkages” from the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN). In that space there are many potential locations where wildlife crossings would increase the safety of our roads.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor is launching an Expedition on January 10th to increase awareness for the need forwildlife corridors. The Expedition team will traverse the state by hiking, biking, and paddling, following some of the same paths wildlife use to cross roads and other obstacles, as we trek for more than 900 miles from the Everglades Headwaters in Central Florida across the Panhandle to the Alabama border.
To learn more about the Florida Wildlife Corridor and the Expedition route, please visit our website at www.floridawildlifecorridor.org.