Work begins in California on world’s largest animal crossing

A cougar in California (Moose Henderson/Dreamstime)

Construction has begun in Los Angeles on a 64m structure that will allow wildlife to cross all 10 lanes of the 101 Freeway at the city’s Liberty Canyon.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will connect the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains, protecting animals from the 300,000 vehicles that use the stretch of road each day.

The project is the largest of its kind ever built and will benefit a range of species including bobcats, gray foxes, lizards, coyotes and deer. Of particular concern are mountain lions, which are near extinction.

The crossing will be designed to blend into its environment and will contain plant barriers to reduce the impact of noise and light pollution.

The development concludes 20 years of research by the National Park Service, which has created “islands” of natural habitat in urban sprawl.

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, said, “California’s wide array of native species and ecosystems has earned the state recognition as a global biodiversity hotspot. In the face of extreme climate impacts, it is more important than ever that we work together to protect our rich natural heritage. This project will restore vital habitat and allow cougars and other wildlife to move around safely.

“Backed by significant public and philanthropic support, the Wildlife Crossing is an inspiring example of the type of collaborative effort that will help us protect our shared home for generations to come.”

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