Wildlife Corridors

In GCSE Geography students will look at wildlife corridors. This quiz examines some of the ways we can give animals safe passage through the landscape and around our developments. It also looks at how some of our activities are an obstruction to them.

Nature reserves and wildlife areas may be allowing individuals to live and survive, but without being able to move safely from one area to another the genetic diversity of a group is extremely restricted. Wildlife corridors allow the safe passage of animals between reserves and protected areas. As well as increasing the genetic diversity, these corridors protect the species as a whole against localised disasters such as forest fires or disease. These routes also allow animals to forage over a wider area and to migrate. They also make it possible for juveniles to disperse.

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Some examples of massive wildlife corridors include the China-Russia Tiger Corridor and the Siju-Rewak Corridor in the Garo Hills of India. This corridor protects an important population of elephants, linking the Siju Wildlife Sanctuary and the Rewak Reserve Forest together. As well as elephants, the area contains another 139 species of animals, including tigers, bears and leopards. The Paseo del Jaguar is a proposed corridor running from the United States, through Mexico and Central America to South America to allow the movement of jaguars. As well as the corridor there will be a series of refuges, large enough for the jaguars to stop for a day or two and hunt.

Underpasses and bridges can provide safer passage for both animals and humans, reducing the interaction between road users and wildlife and therefore the number of deaths and accidents. Migratory species seem to be quick to learn where the safe passes are, and local species equally begin to use them if the surrounding human activity and the design of the refuge is correct.

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  1. What is a disadvantage of wildlife corridors?
    One concern that local residents sometimes raise is the fact that animals passing through may leave the corridor to hunt, or that animals such as deer may be in close proximity to roads, leading to accidents
  2. In terms of genetic diversity, how do wildlife corridors help prevent species extinction?
    With a small population the risk of genetic conditions being widespread is increased. Allowing individuals to move between habitats allows a wider range of genetics and decreases the risks of negative recessive conditions being widespread in the population
  3. How can housing developers and planners help wildlife?
    Old railway lines and even streams are often converted into private and concealed wildlife corridors. Beyond that, gardens can be used as wildlife havens and refuges. Many housing developments have rules and regulations preventing homeowners paving over their gardens and encouraging wildlife corners
  4. What is a riparian ribbon?
    Many species, such as salmon, need to travel upstream to spawn. The banks and refuges also provide space for land animals to travel. Without management however, invasive plants can also spread via these corridors
  5. How do dams prevent rivers being used as wildlife corridors?
    The use of salmon ladders on many weirs and dams, as well as steps to allow them to jump up in smaller increments, has helped many species continue to use these riparian ribbons
  6. What is habitat fragmentation?
    By splitting habitats there may be enough habitat for the species. But without being able to access parts of the habitat or join other members of their species, animals suffer the same as they would if the other habitat had been lost
  7. How can forestry companies prevent fragmenting habitats?
    Whilst thinning can be done in traditional managed forests, commercial forests need to strip the forest to allow the large machines to enter. Leaving corridors of trees allows the animals to move between the fragmented sections of the forest
  8. How can road design work to incorporate wildlife corridors?
    Motorways and railways often have a buffer of vegitation to reduce noise and air pollution for nearby residents. This strip of vegetation already provides a valuable habitat and corridor for a variety of species
  9. Which of the following is not a way farmers can help wildlife cross their land?
    Whilst agricultural zones look green and wild, they are in fact difficult for wildlife to cross and inhabit. Intensive agriculture is causing significant losses of species in the UK such as the dormouse and birds like the lapwing
  10. Migratory species can travel for thousands of miles. Besides willife corridors, what do they require?
    Species such as migratory birds can travel thousands of miles, but they will stop off along the way. Traditional stopping points may have been drained, built on or otherwise developed. Returning natural stopping points can form a wildlife corridor of sorts

Author: Ruth M

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