What Are Wildlife Corridors?
A wildlife corridor. Now, what might that be? We have to admit, we haven’t thought much about them until recently.
It goes back to the silly joke “why does the chicken cross the road?” The answer: “to get to the other side”. But what if there is a major highway in the way? It might not be able to cross at all or it might get smushed while crossing. Uh oh. Not good.
So animals need ways to cross busy roads/intersections without getting hurt or worse. Wildlife corridors solve part of the problem so let’s learn how.
It turns out wildlife corridors are critical to helping our animals (and plants) move around on our planet. By connecting pieces of land, they help animals migrate, find mates, water or food.
The landmasses may be separated by structures, roads or other pieces of land. Without corridors, animals can become isolated. They may not find food or even mates which reduces genetic diversity. Or in worst cases, the animals become extinct.
As we found out with the Carolina northern flying squirrel, the squirrels need help crossing a newly built highway. Without assistance crossing the road, all sorts of bad things happened but luckily there is a happy ending . Read their story on our blog “Animals-Flying Squirrels”.
WHAT ANIMALS BENEFIT?
All sorts of animals (and even plants) benefit from wildlife corridors. Bears, panthers, and pronghorn sheep all need to be able to move long distances in order to survive.
Butterflies, frogs, salmon and many bird species often use corridors to migrate. Read a great summary of the benefits from Wildlands Network here.
And what about plants? Back in 2006, a 6-year study found plants, especially native plants, benefit from wildlife corridors. One example: a study shows bluebirds disperse more plant seeds when corridors exist than without them. The movement of the birds is increased with the help of corridors, thereby helping the plants. Very cool.
Florida panther. Photo: Justin Shoemaker/USFWS
EASY ACTIONS STEPS TO TAKE
Write your congressperson and voice support for The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act which should be reintroduced in 2020.
Support Wildlands Network, one of the organizations we support