The world’s largest wildlife crossing is set to start construction on Earth Day in just a few weeks. The crossing will span ten busy freeway lanes just outside of Los Angeles.

Source: CBS Los Angeles/Youtube

The Wallis Annenberg wildlife Crossing will be in the Santa Monica Mountains region of Los Angeles County and will not only be California’s first bridge of its kind but the largest in the world.

Nearly 20 years ago, the U.S. National Park Service conducted a study that found roads and developments were deadly for animals that were trying to cross. The new bridge will allow animals to safely cross the road without entering the busy ten-lane freeway.

The Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology estimated that 1 to 2 million crashes between motor vehicles and large animals occur every year in the U.S. This causes approximately 200 human deaths, 26,000 injuries, and $8 billion in damage. The cost to wildlife is extremely high as well. Roads and highways often cut off important species like elk and mule deer from completing their seasonal migration routes, which threatens the stability of the population. Urban development also disrupts the animals’ ability to mate and find food and shelter.

Climate change is also a reason this bridge and more of its kind are needed. As temperatures rise, some species have already or will need to migrate to find more suitable conditions. California wildfires are both unpredictable and pose a huge threat to wildlife that need suitable escape routes.

The bridge is not the first of its kind, but it is becoming increasingly popular to protect these incredible wild animals. Just 40 years ago, there was only a handful, while today, there are more than 1,000 crossings. Most of them are underpasses or tunnels, while only a few are overpass designs like the new crossing will be.

Source: Vox/Youtube

“California’s diverse array of native species and ecosystems have earned the state recognition as a global biodiversity hotspot. In the face of extreme climate impacts, it’s more important than ever that we work together to protect our rich natural heritage,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“This project will restore vital habitat and enable mountain lions and other wildlife to roam safely.”

This is an amazing project, and we hope that this crossing will influence other cities and countries to build bridges like this to help protect wildlife! Sign this petition to save wild animals from being hit by cars!

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