Ahighway project designed to benefit wild animals has begun construction in California. The overpass, which had its groundbreaking ceremony in April, stretches over a section of the 10-lane US 101 highway to the northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The introduction of a wildlife bridge is intended to save the lives of animals in the area, in particular the endangered mountain lion species.
This part of Southern California is riddled with freeways, and over 25 mountain lions have been hit and killed here since 2002. There are now fewer than 13 mountain lions left in the area. With such a small population, inbreeding has caused a dangerous lack of genetic diversity. Many young mountain lions have been born with tail and testicle defects. The National Wildlife Federation hopes the new bridge will allow mountain lions to expand their territory and increase their populations.
The wildlife bridge team spent ten years planning the crossing, but it isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2025. About 60 percent of its US$90 million costs have been funded by private donations, which took time to collect. Additionally, the bridge had to be carefully planned. It will be covered with plants to help it blend in with the surrounding natural landscape. The team also implemented special sound and light barriers to encourage nocturnal animals to cross, despite the presence of road noise and light.
Photo courtesy of Flickr 照片：Flickr提供
If anyone needed to justify the crossing’s high costs, they need look no further than Canada. There, Banff National Park has over 40 wildlife crossings and has seen a 90 percent reduction in wildlife deaths from traffic. Thanks to the reduction in accidents, the park has found its crossings often pay for themselves within a decade or two. So, whether someone believes in spending large sums of money to help wildlife or not, there are also substantial human benefits.
overpass n. 天橋；立交橋
groundbreaking ceremony 動土儀式
inbreeding n. 近親繁殖
testicle n. 睪丸
defect n. 缺陷；瑕疵
federation n. 同盟；聯盟
nocturnal adj. 夜行性的；夜間的
look no further (than) 就在眼前；無需再尋
1. endangered adj. 瀕臨絕種的；遭遇危險的
This forest is protected because endangered animals live here; we want to guard the few of them that are left.
2. be riddled with 充斥；滿是
Kevin’s report was riddled with errors, so I fixed it up before turning it in to the teacher.
3. diversity n. 多樣性；差異
There is a greater diversity of wildlife in the Amazon rainforest than anywhere else in the world.
4. expand v. 擴展；增加
The successful businessman decided to expand his company and open a few branches abroad.
5. blend in (with) 融入；混入
I want my new furniture to blend in with my new house.
6. barrier n. 屏障；障礙物
The Great Wall of China was built to place a barrier between China and barbarian invaders.
7. justify v. 證明…的正當性
The harmful effects of plastic pollution justify the government’s decision to ban single-use plastic items.
8. pay for itself / themselves 回本；損益相當
Abby saves so much money on gas and maintenance that her new car has already paid for itself.
9. substantial adj. 可觀的；重大的
Whoever finds the missing diamonds will receive a substantial reward from the owner.