Montana State University researchers have shown that wildlife crossing structures can help maintain genetically healthy populations of bears. The study was based on 10,000 hair samples from black bears and grizzlies that were collatedin Baniff National Park, Canada spanning the crossings in the Trans-Canada Highway. There are currently 44 crossings in the park spanning Trans-Canada Highway and this is the most extensive system of wildlife crossing structures on the planet.
WTI scientist Michael Sawaya, who wrote the paper, says “While there have been a lot of studies showing that wildlife are using these crossings, this is the first time anyone has shown that animals using the crossings are breeding often enough to ensure that the populations on either side of the highway are not being genetically isolated.”
Details of the study appear in the British journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.