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California to begin construction on world’s largest wildlife crossing next month to help mountain lions

It’s no secret that man-made infrastructure, such as roads and buildings, can have an impact on local animal life. Animals may become endangered or extinct as a result of habitat degradation, and crowded human highways may prevent animals from following their natural paths.

It is critical for humans to understand how these structures may harm wildlife — yet a new bridge in California is intended to erase some of the damage done by humans by allowing animals to finally traverse a congested crossroads.

The new wildlife crossing in Los Angeles, the largest of its type, is finally expected to begin construction next month, representing a significant victory for the state’s endangered mountain lion population.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will span 10 lanes of high traffic on the Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, connecting the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains.

The road has long been a stumbling block for local mountain lions. According to the Los Angeles Times, dozens of large cats have been hit by cars since 2002, and the species’ genetic diversity has suffered as a result of their inability to move to find mates.

“They can’t get out of here to get dates, and cats can’t get in.” “Having a romance opportunity snuffed out by traffic is something we can all relate to,” Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation told The Associated Press in 2019.

“When the motorway was built, it severed an environment.” We’re only now beginning to witness the effects of that.”

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According to the Associated Press, P-22, a mountain lion, was one of the animals who struggled as a result of the freeway: after crossing two freeways and settling in a Los Angeles park, he became a symbol of how the city’s urban growth has decimated nature.

He was instrumental in motivating California to begin development on a new wildlife crossing. While building bridges to help animals get where they need to go is not uncommon, the project’s size and scope are unprecedented.

“Crossings like these are nothing new,” Pratt previously told the Associated Press. “This one is historic because we’re installing it over one of the world’s busiest roads.”

The bridge will finally provide a safe and convenient path for mountain lions to traverse without interfering with human traffic. The bridge will assist creatures other than mountain lions, such as bobcats, coyotes, and deer.

The project is expected to cost $90 million, with the majority of the cash coming from private donations and the remainder from public conservation funds. The bridge is named after a benefactor who provided a $25 million donation to the project.

The bridge has finally set a date for the groundbreaking after years of planning. The construction will begin on April 22nd, which is also Earth Day. The bridge is scheduled to be finished in 2025.

According to the Associated Press, California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement, “California’s unique array of natural species and ecosystems have earned the state reputation as a global biodiversity hotspot.” “It is more critical than ever that we work together to conserve our unique natural legacy in the face of devastating climate effects.”

According to reports, the bridge enjoys widespread backing throughout the state. Construction will take place at night, with no major traffic disruptions.

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The bridge will also blend in with the surrounding scenery: it will be covered in eight acres of landscape, including shrubs and trees, to make it indistinguishable from the hills on either side.

“Ideally, the animals will never realize they’re on a bridge,” Clark Stevens of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains told the Associated Press in 2019.

“It’s a landscape that’s pouring across a freeway.” It’s reintroducing a missing aspect of the ecology.”

We’re so excited that building on this wildlife crossing will finally begin – we can’t wait for it to be finished for these mountain lions to be free to go wherever they want.

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