A New Animals-Only Bridge Is Catching On With Local Wildlife Near Seattle

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iStock

Construction on a new Seattle-area wildlife-only overpass won't be complete until next year, but the local animals are already scoping it out. As KHQ reports, deer have been spotted using the unfinished bridge to get from one side of Interstate 90 to the other.

The 66-foot-wide passage spans the newly renovated section of a six-lane highway near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State. Construction finished on two concrete archways beneath the bridge in 2017, and they just recently opened to vehicles.

In the last months of the $6.2 million project, construction crews and conservationists will focus on making the bridge more appealing to the local fauna. Eight-foot walls on either side of the overpass will muffle noise from nearby traffic. Roughly 115,000 cubic yards of dirt will be loaded onto the bridge by the end of fall, and in the spring native plants will be brought in, turning the corridor into an extension of the local ecosystem.

The finished product will hopefully attract elk, bears, and mountain goats, redirecting them from the dangers of fast-moving cars and providing them a safe passage across the highway. The site is still scattered with construction equipment, but deer have already been spotted sneaking over it, according the state's transportation department.

Washington isn't the first state to build highway infrastructure exclusively for its animal population. Florida is home to dozens of panther crossings designed to guide endangered Florida panthers across the state's busiest roads.

[h/t KHQ]

The Time German and Russian WWI Soldiers Banded Together to Fight Wolves

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iStock.com/567185

During the winter of 1917, Russian and German soldiers fighting in the dreary trenches of the Great War’s Eastern Front had a lot to fear: enemy bullets, trench foot, frostbite, countless diseases, shrapnel, bayonets, tanks, sniper fire. Oh, and wolves.

In February of that year, a dispatch from Berlin noted that large packs of wolves were creeping from the forests of Lithuania and Volhynia into the interior of the German Empire, not far from the front lines. Like so many living creatures, the animals had been driven from their homes by the war and were now simply looking for something to eat. “As the beasts are very hungry, they penetrate into the villages and kill calves, sheep, goats, and other livestock,” the report, which appeared in the El Paso Herald, says. “In two cases children have been attacked by them.”

According to another dispatch out of St. Petersburg, the wolves were such a nuisance on the battlefield that they were one of the few things that could bring soldiers from both sides together. “Parties of Russian and German scouts met recently and were hotly engaged in a skirmish when a large pack of wolves dashed on the scene and attacked the wounded,” the report says, according to the Oklahoma City Times. “Hostilities were at once suspended and Germans and Russians instinctively attacked the pack, killing about 50 wolves.” It was an unspoken agreement among snipers that, if the Russians and Germans decided to engage in a collective wolf-hunt, all firing would cease.

Take this July 1917 New York Times report describing how soldiers in the Kovno-Wilna Minsk district (near modern Vilnius, Lithuania) decided to cease hostilities to fight this furry common enemy:

"Poison, rifle fire, hand grenades, and even machine guns were successively tried in attempts to eradicate the nuisance. But all to no avail. The wolves—nowhere to be found quite so large and powerful as in Russia—were desperate in their hunger and regardless of danger. Fresh packs would appear in place of those that were killed by the Russian and German troops.

"As a last resort, the two adversaries, with the consent of their commanders, entered into negotiations for an armistice and joined forces to overcome the wolf plague. For a short time there was peace. And in no haphazard fashion was the task of vanquishing the mutual foe undertaken. The wolves were gradually rounded up, and eventually several hundred of them were killed. The others fled in all directions, making their escape from carnage the like of which they had never encountered."

Afterward, the soldiers presumably returned to their posts and resumed pointing their rifles at a more violent and dangerous enemy—each other.

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