World’s Largest Urban Wildlife Crossing to be Constructed in Los Angeles
National Wildlife Federation receives a record $25 million Annenberg Challenge Grant for the largest wildlife crossing in the world, construction of which is soon to begin
Wildlife corridors or crossings have offered a safe passage to animals in this fast-changing world with never-ending anthropogenic activities. Wildlife bridges have come up as a solution to offer protection to the animals that are threatened but the vehicle-centric world of humans. The world’s largest urban wildlife crossing has received a huge amount for construction in Los Angeles.
A huge conservation challenge grant of $25 million has been sanctioned from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation to the National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign to build a wildlife crossing in Los Angeles. The project has been hailed as a landmark for the city and it will begin construction later this year.
The crossing will be built at Liberty Canyon over the 101 Freeway and will join a long-fragmented ecosystem, a biodiversity hotspot and help save the threatened mountain lion population and other wildlife that inhabit the Santa Monica Mountains. It will be the world’s largest urban wildlife corridor.
Sprawling over 210 feet over ten lanes of highway and pavement, along with an access road, this is the first urban crossing of this size. Moreover, it is the first considerably funded through private donations along with public support. Through this, the drive has raised over $44 million to date and needs to get an approximate $35 million to unlock the Annenberg Challenge Grant and to begin construction in November.
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said;
This incredible conservation challenge grant from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation — the largest ever received by the National Wildlife Federation — puts us closer to breaking ground this year. Wallis Annenberg’s grant will protect this global biodiversity hotspot – recognized as one of only 36 biodiversity hotspots worldwide – and ensure that California’s iconic mountain lions and other wildlife can find the food and mates they need to survive by reconnecting the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills and beyond.
The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing proposed will allow mountain lions to easily cross eight lanes of traffic, consequently expanding their habitat. It is scheduled to be completed sometime around 2023 and will bridge a barrier that prevents wildlife from moving north to open woodland areas.
It will feature native flora that is currently being tented to in a nursery, ensuring that the bridge will attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees. The crossing will also offer a secure path for mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, snakes and other animals.
Moreover, the restoration of the biodiversity that once existed in this region, which consists of fire-prone areas, will also become a brilliant climate-resiliency strategy.