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With roads closed and vehicle traffic down during the pandemic, some animals are getting a better shot at survival. Roads are a main driver of wildlife decline in Canada, taking their toll in myriad ways. First, vehicles hit wildlife trying to cross roads. This has imperilled several reptile species in Canada, including the endangered Blanding’s turtle . Turtles generally reproduce late in life, so even a small number killed can lead to population declines. Because females usually wander in search of prime egg-laying habitat, they’re more likely to be killed than males. Vehicle collisions can also have calamitous impacts on frog and salamander populations. In spring, they depart vernal pools and cross roads in massive numbers to search for mates. Throughout Canada, roads are also a cause of declining boreal caribou populations—but not because vehicles hit them. Caribou rely on large, intact ranges to evade predators, and roads (and seismic lines) fragment that habitat, and provide travel corridors and sightlines for predators, increasing their success in killing caribou and other prey. Under current land-management regimes, roads continue to be punched into undisturbed forests. Because of a failure to adequately limit the industrial footprint of mining, logging and oil and […]

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