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Congressman Introduces Bill to Make Wildlife Crossings Mandatory in Mexico

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Wildlife crossings are finally catching on all over the world: It looks like Mexico might take a major step in support of these common-sense infrastructures.

A dead coyote along the side of the road, with a truckload of people about to drive by
The Congressman’s bill would mandate wildlife crossings to prevent wildlife deaths like these. Photo: Jan Schipper

Congressman Germán Ralis (Movimiento Ciudadano – Jalisco) has introduced a bill to amend Mexico’s Roads, Bridges and Federal Auto-transport Law so that wildlife crossings become mandatory for new roads. It also gives Transportation Authorities the mandate of building new wildlife crossings on old roads.

The bill could be huge win for wildlife, as it would allow the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) to channel significant resources toward identifying and addressing priority intersections between wildlife corridors and federal highways, of which there are over 38,000 miles in Mexico.

This 3-D model shows a wildlife bridge connecting two wild areas over a highway.
Wildlands Network’s 3-D rendering of a wildlife overpass on Highway 2. Mexico could one day see structures like this all over the country. Photo: Wildlands Network

Congressman Ralis also addressed the particular issue of designing wildlife crossings in Mexico, a topographically and ecologically diverse country where wildlife crossings will need to have many different designs to serve wildlife, ranging from jaguars, spider-monkeys and tapir, to black bears, wolves and pronghorn. The Congressman introduced a motion to have congress call on SCT to produce a nation-wide regulatory standard for wildlife crossings. While congressional requests are not binding, they do carry significant weight to get things moving in the right direction.

Mexico is already taking steps to ensure habitat connectivity through the establishment of wildlife crossings, an effort we’re leading in the borderlands of Sonora, through collaborations with SCT. These efforts have resulted in modified routes and the identification of priority locations for new wildlife-friendly infrastructure.

A man in an orange utility vest stands in front of a small underpass near a busy highway as a truck comes toward him on the highway. Another man in an orange utility vest stands above the underpass on the highway.
Two crew members survey a potential site for wildlife crossings along Mexico’s Highway 2. Photo: Ricardo Felix.

The bill is coming to a vote, and the law is under review by the Transportation Committee in Mexico’s lower chamber. If approved there, it will go to the Senate for review and might be passed into law before May, as the Legislature will close at the end of April for the upcoming election on July 1st.

If it passes, 2019 might be a bright year for wildlife connectivity in Mexico.

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