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Wildlife crossings are saving money, lives in Nevada
After a track record of wildlife crossing success in Nevada, former critics of the expensive structures built to keep animals off dangerous highways have become more supportive. While building these wildlife-friendly bridges or underpasses can be costly — Nevada’s first project cost $2.2 million while another series of projects near the Pequop range was $20 million — the Nevada Department of Transportation found that 35,000 mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) used the crossing in the former project four years after it was built. Plus, the agency estimates that an average of 500 accidents involving cars and wildlife each year costs about $19 million in property damage and injury. The structures can be especially helpful to wildlife like mule deer, which not only can be killed by cars, but also suffer from habitat fragmentation due to highways slicing through their ranges.