They look, for the most part, like typical pedestrian infrastructure: elliptical or boxy concrete culverts under the highway high enough for a human to pass through, or overpasses that would look entirely familiar to the vehicles passing below. All this highway engineering, though, is meant for the benefit of bears. And cougars, and wolves, and elk.
"We’ve got this important north-south transportation corridor for animals," Clevenger says of the park, which is located in the Canadian Rockies between Vancouver and Calgary. "But it’s bisected by this important east-west transportation corridor for vehicles." … The study found that about 20 percent of the bears in the geographically broad sample population were using the crossings, and with the same activity patterns they exhibit in the back country. These bears were not, for instance, making a run for it in the middle of the night when traffic volumes were low. And all of this means that this infrastructure is doing much more than protecting motorists. It has enabled the free flow of mama bears and bear genes across four lanes of high-speed traffic. "The mitigation measures on the highway have basically restored connectivity across a major transportation corridor," Clevenger says, "as though the highway wasn’t even there."
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