After witnessing too many animal deaths on the roads of Colorado and around US leading tours, I have been inspired to walk across America to raise awareness and support for the development of wildlife crossings.
What are wildlife crossings?
How many of you have had a close call with an animal trying to cross the road you're driving on? Most of us have had that experience, if not with larger animals like deer, certainly with birds or tortoise.
Sadly, up to two million large animals are killed by motorists every year in the states. More than 20 animals that are caught in the headlights, are federally listed as threatened or endangered species.
Just crossing the road poses a huge threat to their survival. Now, more than ever, its obvious that animals need our protection.
Wildlife crossings are structures designed to prevent those close calls and collisions with animals. The crossings include both underpasses, and overpasses, that offer safe passage under or over roads, for animals such as moose, deer, coyotes, cougars, bobcats and raccoons, to name but a few. Most of these structures have fencing that helps to direct the animals into the crossing's entrance. They're also designed to look as natural as possible, to blend in with the environment. Plus, they are robust easy to maintain, so they can last for decades.
The number of animals killed on the roads of the US is one million, daily...
... when you include all creatures great and small. In New York state, they report that an average of 65,000 deer are struck by vehicles each year. That's just one species, in just one state, in just one year.
Wildlife crossings can help avoid up to 95% of animal road deaths, on a stretch of road.
The idea has been around for decades now, with Europe having the most crossings. Holland alone, has almost 70 wildlife crossings, for their deer and other animals. The states is ramping it up with building these crossings, understanding that not only are they beneficial to the conservation of wildlife, but are also safer for humans, and better for the country's pocket. However, far more are still needed.
How does it save money?
The annual average of reported wildlife vehicle collisions in the states are 300,000, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The actual total, is likely to be far higher, considering that most wildlife collisions go unreported.
In fact, the estimated cost of wildlife vehicle collisions, is over $8 billion annually in property damage, plus countless dollars of human suffering.
Although quite costly to implement one of these crossings, the average cost of building and maintaining a wildlife passage with fencing is only $18,123 per year.
So wildlife crossings save animal deaths, human deaths and injuries, and tax payer's money!
However, there are still far more wildlife crossings required across the states. The Western Transportation Institute confirmed that over a 15-year period, wildlife-vehicle collisions have increased by 50 percent. Millions of animals remain at risk, and thousands of people are still injured and hundreds killed in these collisions. I'd love to see many more of these crossings along my path. Though as an animal advocate, I know that these crossings are not for me, and to avoid getting too close to the structures.
What people need to realise, is that these crossings are not made for us humans. When we start using these passes, to shave off a bit of time during a cycle or hike, we render the pass off-putting to the animals who would normal use it. Our scent lingers, and can scare off the users it was made for, ruining their safe passage. So if you do come across one of the few crossings established in the states, please avoid it.
Animals need our help now, more than ever, and my goal is to help them, by helping to promote the idea of wildlife crossings, in a bid to establish more of them across the roads and highways of America.
You can follow my mission to walk from Washington, to Florida, on
I've also been vlogging on my YouTube channel so check it out and please subscribe https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFE3N_qEr4nvYwBdFOfFZaw
If you are able, you can also help me and the project, by donating via https://www.gofundme.com/f/walk4wildlifecrossings