Wildlife crossings help avoid roadway collisions

Illustration of a wildlife crossing

Native plants encourage animals to use wildlife bridges, which benefit local ecosystems and provide additional habitat. Fencing keeps animals away from the road and funnels them toward the crossing.

Wildlife and roadways can be a deadly, expensive combination. Vehicles collide with large animals 1–2 million times every year in the US, resulting in more than $8 billion in costs and 200 human deaths—and a far higher toll for animals. But wildlife crossings, an increasingly common solution, are helping to reduce the danger for all.


Wildlife crossings are bridges, underpasses, tunnels, or other human-made structures designed to guide animals over or under roads rather than across them. When incorporated into infrastructure planning, these alternative pathways can prevent animal-vehicle accidents and provide species safer passage through their habitats. They also help mitigate the effects of habitat fragmentation, enabling animals to reach critical resources like food, water, and mates.

Six bridges and 38 underpasses along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park are considered a gold standard for wildlife crossings: The structures have led to an 80% drop in incidents between wildlife and vehicles, providing a model for similar projects worldwide.


When a road passing through the Lumding Reserve Forest in Assam, India, was recently expanded to a four-lane highway, it further fragmented an area used by more than 100 elephants. In response, WWF-India provided the local government with recommendations to construct several wildlife crossings that steer the mammals away from increased traffic.


In 2000, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes—with support from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation— ensured that plans to reconstruct parts of Montana’s Highway 93 would include 42 new wildlife crossings. Today, more than 22,000 animals use the crossings annually, and collisions with wildlife have declined by over 70%.


From 2017 to 2018, WWF-Nepal supported a camera trap project to study the effectiveness of four wildlife underpasses along Narayanghat-Mugling Road in Barandabhar Corridor Forest. Photos revealed the underpasses were used by 13 species, including wild boars, leopards, and spotted deer.

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