More Wildlife Using Crossing Structures On Hwy 9!
The list of wildlife species that are using the new crossing structures on CO State Highway 9 continues to grow, and now includes a migrating bighorn sheep and a bear! Caught on cameras installed for the very purpose of documenting wildlife use of both the underpasses and overpasses, the animals demonstrate that the crossing structures will accommodate a variety of species attempting to move across the highway corridor.
The bighorn sheep was a ewe that was trying to move from west to east towards spring lambing grounds. Although it took her several hours to finally find the crossing, she will no doubt remember where it is when she migrates back west this fall after lambing. Wildlife researchers are very much hoping to capture her on camera again at that time, hopefully with a lamb at her side. Bringing her young with her will teach the younger animal where the crossing is as well, initiating a learning cycle where mothers continue to teach their offspring where to safely cross the highway.
The bear is one of the first predators to be caught on camera, using the same crossing only two days after the bighorn. To show that predators as well as big game animals will use the crossings is an important piece of evidence for researchers that projects like this actually benefit all wildlife found in the area, not just one or two target species.
The second construction season for the CO State Highway 9 Safety Project is now well underway, and while everyone is looking forward to the final completion of this ground-breaking project at the end of the year, we will continue to get excited over additional documentation of the project’s success.