Crossing Highway 17

We’ve talked before about the dangers of crossing Highway 17, you may remember 16M, or Atlas, crossed dozens of times and was stuck and injured once.  Many pumas and other animals are not as lucky and are killed.  Some animals try and dart across highways, while others may use culverts that run under the road to make their way from one side to the other.  These culverts vary in their use — some are too small, have large grates covering the entrances, are filled with debris, or have unsuitable habitat on either side.

This is a culvert that crosses under Highway 17.  Many different species, such as pumas, bobcats, skunks, coyotes, etc. may use crossing structures like these to make their way across dangerous highways.  Photo taken by Tanya Diamond

This is a culvert that crosses under Highway 17. Many different species, such as pumas, bobcats, skunks, coyotes, etc. may use crossing structures like these to make their way across dangerous highways. Photo taken by Tanya Diamond

 

This is a different culvert that Yiwei and I checked out.  I crawled through to see if this might have been a way that 16m was crossing Highway 17.  This culvert did cross, but since it turns under the highway and you can't see through to the other side, animals may be hesitant to use it.   What this photo doesn't show was all the spiders and ants that were crawling all over me.

This is a different culvert that Yiwei and I checked out. I crawled through to see if this might have been a way that 16m was crossing Highway 17. This culvert did cross, but since it turns under the highway and you can’t see through to the other side, animals may be hesitant to use it.
What this photo doesn’t show was all the spiders and ants that were crawling all over my face!

Last week we met up with biologist Tanya Diamond from Pathways for Wildlife to share data and prioritize potential crossing areas on Highway 17.  Overcoming barriers, such as highways or other forms of development, is an essential part of maintaining viable populations.  We are very excited for our data to be used to help maintain connectivity across the 17!

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