What other newspapers are saying: Wildlife corridors help all species

Pennsylvania, Penn’s Woods, still is among the most forested of all states. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 58% of the state’s land is wooded.

That translates into an abundance of wildlife, as hunters, hikers, bird watchers, nature photographers and, unfortunately, drivers all know.

Even though the state is heavily wooded, wildlife habitats often are divided by roads, housing subdivisions, fences, other structures and physical infrastructure that make life difficult for animals and, often, for humans who encounter them.

Nationally, there is a growing trend to help animals and humans alike by establishing wildlife corridors, which can take many forms.

Often they connect divided pieces of habitat, such as an overpass or underpass across a highway to allow animals access without traffic counters that often are deadly for animals and people alike. That would be especially helpful in Pennsylvania where, according to the insurance industry, drivers have a 1-in-63 chance of hitting an animal on a highway — the third-highest rate nationally.

Unobstructed streams are important corridors, as are reserved patches of woods, waterways and fields along flyways for migratory birds.

Pennsylvania has several wildlife corridors, most famously in Elk County to accommodate the movements of the nation’s largest wild elk population. Long stretches of the state also are part of the vast Atlantic Flyway for billions of migratory birds.

State Reps. Mary Jo Daley, a Montgomery County Democrat, and Aaron Kaufer, a Luzerne County Republican, have filed a resolution to fund a study of conservation corridors.

The Legislature should approve it with an eye toward maintaining the state’s rich biodiversity amid climate change, and to better protect humans and wildlife.

— Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre


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