“It used to be that there was a lot of habitat and not many roads, and not much traffic. Now, there are a lot of roads. Habitats for wildlife are getting smaller and fragmented into isolated patches with roads cutting through them.
This means that wildlife now have to cross roads to get from one part of their habitat to another. Some animals need to cross the road every day to get all the things they need to survive, such as food, water and shelter. Even if they have enough habitat to survive the day, most species need to move at certain times of the year, often in spring and fall. Many need to move to meet their seasonal requirements, such as from their wintering grounds to their summer habitat.
In the Maritimes we don’t see large seasonal migrations of large animals like elk and caribou that you see in other parts of the world. However, many of our local wildlife need to move from place to place to meet their basic requirements over their lifetimes, from mating to birthing, to wintering. We see many individuals or smaller groups of medium to large animals on the move, and we see mass migrations of smaller ones, such as frogs and salamanders.
All of these species need to move for various reasons. Hungry from the winter, they need to find rich sources of food. Mothers need to move their offspring from their sheltered nesting, calving or denning areas to places that provide richer food and other resources. Turtles need to move from streams and other wintering sites to areas to lay their eggs. They particularly like to lay them on gravelly roadsides. Adults of many species need to roam to find mates. Young adults need to leave their mothers’ territory and find their own territory. Many different species of wildlife need to move from one place to another in the spring. There are lots of reasons why the animal has to cross the road, not only in the spring, but all year round.”