Crossing a Freeway – too tough for a possum?
Have you ever seen those suspended rope bridges across a freeway? Not sure what they are for? Most of them have been designed as animal crossing points so that wildlife can stay connected between patches of bushland split by a thundering roadway without risking becoming a pancake. I myself have wondered if they actually get used. How do the critters know to use them? Are there training days and signs saying ‘Possums this way —->’!?
I just read some research by Kylie Soanes – a PhD student from the University of Melbourne who studied the usage of these crossings with remote cameras. You can read her story here – http://theconversation.com/mysterious-poles-make-road-crossing-easier-for-high-flying-mammals-11323.
They studied animal usage of the crossings for 5 years. It took about two years for them to be utilised, but then the traffic began streaming across! “both the rope bridges and glider poles have become popular, with squirrel gliders crossing more than 2000 times. We’ve also detected common brushtail possums, common ringtail possums, sugar gliders, brush-tailed phascogales, and even a goanna using the structures to cross the freeway“. Pretty cool huh!
This had me thinking that maybe there are more local solutions to roadkill and that schools could look to build animal crossings around their districts? Too wild a thought? Do you have major roadways around your school that separate bushland? Maybe you could petition local councils or roads services to build crossings? Maybe you could erect one at school, borrow Brewongle’s wildlife cameras and see which animals use it?