September 14, 2018 – If you’ve ever white-knuckled it through a canyon or overpass, hoping you don’t encounter deer or elk on the highway, you’re not alone. Our highways and roads get us where we need to go, but they also slice up wildlife habitat. And when animals try to get across those roads to get to water, food or mating grounds, they’re in danger of being killed. And motorists are at risk of accident.
Fifteen years ago, Wild Friends—a statewide student group organized through the University of New Mexico School of Law—lobbied the state legislature to convene a workshop to look at the problems of wildlife-driver accidents. The New Mexico Carnivore Working Group organized the Critical Mass Workshop in 2003 to look at which highways in New Mexico were most dangerous for wildlife and drivers. Tijeras Canyon where animals move back and forth between the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, ranked near the top.
Correspondent Laura Paskus takes us to the Tijeras Canyon Safe Passage Project outside Albuquerque to look at one project from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Department of Transportation that’s trying to protect wildlife and keep drivers safe, too.