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12 Most Awesome Wildlife Crossings in the World 12 Most Awesome Wildlife Crossings in the World

12 Most Awesome Wildlife Crossings in the World

by Yasha Wallin
May 21, 2013

Humans aren't the only animals that need advanced systems of transportation. As we build more in and around the natural habitats of animals, planners are increasingly taking into account the need for wildlife to have their own roadways so as not to end up as roadkill. Studies have shown that roads and traffic affect animal populations detrimentally in four ways: "they decrease habitat amount and quality, enhance mortality due to collisions with vehicles, prevent access to resources on the other side of the road, and subdivide animal populations into smaller and more vulnerable fractions." 

So wildlife crossings have been built since the 1950s not only to protect animals and people from collisions, but also to ensure that roads, railroads, pipelines, etc. aren't hindering a population's growth or their way of living.

Wildlife crossings come in many shapes and sizes, including underpass tunnels, viaducts, and overpasses; amphibian tunnels; fish ladders; tunnels and culverts; and green roofs. In Europe, they are everywhere, with the Netherlands accounting for more than 600 wildlife bridges. North America, on the other hand, has some catching up to do to make sure furry—and otherwise—friends have the freedom to roam. Here's a roundup of some of the best green passageways from around the world that connect animals to their natural surroundings. Are there any missing from this list that you've seen?


Highway A50, Netherlands; photos via Niels Verheul and Henri Cormont, RWS

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The first dedicated elephant underpass, Kenya

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Ecoducts, Banff, Alberta Canada; photo via Joel Sartore, and (cc) Flickr user Cmh2315fl

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Interstate 78 - New Jersey across the Watchung Reservation; photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Unusual overpass for crabs: Red crabs in action in Christmas Island National Park, Australia, during their migration; photo via Christmas Island National Park

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Underpass for crocodiles U.S. Highway 1 between Florida City and Key Largo, FL; photo via Marcel Huijser

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Concrete barrier and planks guiding amphibians toward an underpass under the road, near the town Hilversum, The Netherlands; photo via Marcel Huijser

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Can Pagá, Vallés Oriental, Spain; photo via Google Maps

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Grevesmühlen, Germany; photo (cc) via Flickr user Bogdan

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Animal underpass, Finland; photo via Interestingplac.es

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Unrealized: Winning proposal for the ARC: International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition, I-70 near Vail, Coloroda; photo via Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
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