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Science News: Helping wild animals move around Los Angeles County

– G.A., Senior Editor

While freeways and highways help humans travel from place to place quickly and comfortably, they act as barriers that limit or completely prevent the movement of wild animals that live in their surroundings. Los Angeles County, with its extensive network of freeways, bridges, and overpasses, is known worldwide for traffic congestion. However, a proposed wildlife crossing could provide support for wild animals that reside in Los Angeles County.

The proposed Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing would cross over a 10-lane freeway and establish an important connection between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills. If the required $50 to $60 million US dollars can be raised by the end of 2020, this small corridor could help coyote, deer, and cougar populations to remain physically healthy and genetically diverse.

This project has been under consideration since 2014, but has experienced difficulty receiving funding. The proposed design would result in the construction of the largest wildlife crossing in the United States. Due to the projected cost, donations are now being collected from the public to pay for the project.

The possible expansion of high-speed rail in the United States continues to be debated; therefore, it appears that the automobile will remain the most popular form of transportation for many more years to come. In addition to permitting the safe movement of wild animals within their natural habitat, wildlife crossings are known to reduce the number of collisions with cars. Therefore, humans ourselves are yet another species that can benefit from these projects.

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