Animal crossings, and other networks for more safety

Along with everyday road safety and emergency preparedness, we look at improving the quality of life for LGBTQ people in Chile and formerly incarcerated Nigerians.

1. Canada

Wildlife crossings in Canada’s Banff National Park are prompting transportation authorities to build animal-friendly roads elsewhere. In the early 1980s, the Trans-Canada Highway through the country’s oldest national park averaged about 100 elk collisions a year. The once infamous road now has the highest density of animal crossings in the world, with at least 38 underpasses and six overpasses, and served as a testing ground for the conservation strategy. “There was just a lot of skepticism from biologists,” said Tony Clevenger, senior wildlife researcher at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University in the US, who was asked by the Canadian government to monitor these structures. . “But our data showed wildlife crossing measures were very effective.”

Why we wrote this

Special construction projects and better planning have saved lives. In Canada, a busy highway has trails that protect animals and people. And in Bangladesh, preparing for cyclones includes layers of warnings and the personnel needed for the effort.

His team proved not only that these bridges and tunnels reduced deer collisions by 86%, but also that the structures allowed otherwise isolated bear populations to reproduce. The Banff project has informed animal crossing projects in other countries, including the United States and Costa Rica.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Personal/File

Drivers pass under a wildlife corridor in Banff National Park in Alberta in July 2019. These structures allow wildlife to pass through the park and avoid contact with vehicles.

2. Chile

Chile has legalized same-sex marriage, making it the eighth country in Latin America to adopt marriage equality. Both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure, which was quickly signed into law by President Sebastián Piñera, a center-right leader whose term ends in March and who once opposed the legislation . He changed his stance last summer, saying, “Now is the time to ensure that freedom and dignity for all.”

Same-sex couples have been able to form civil unions in Chile since 2015, but they can now enjoy the same marital benefits and adoption rights as married couples. The bill, which was first introduced in 2017, reflects a shift in opinion on LGBTQ issues. Most Chileans now support gay marriage.
NPR, Al Jazeera

Rafael Teran (left) and his boyfriend, Cristian Garcia, take a selfie outside the La Moneda presidential palace after lawmakers approved a law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption, in Santiago, Australia Chile.

3. Nigeria

An organization in Nigeria is working to reduce recidivism through professional training and support. In Nigeria, the rate of return to prison for formerly incarcerated people has increased from 35% in 2007 to 50% in 2019. Dream Again, which began as a small effort to bring libraries to correctional centers across the country, prepares people behind bars to reintegrate into society. With five staff members and eight volunteers, the group works with prison authorities to coordinate its “Rethink, Reform and Reintegrate” programme. The first phase focuses on mental and emotional support for those incarcerated, the second phase focuses on vocational training, and the third involves material support for newly released participants.

To date, Dream Again has worked with 2,000 people in six prisons across Nigeria. One participant, Emmanuel Kusa, says the group helped him start his own soap-making business after he struggled to find work outside prison. “I am so happy to bear in mind that my one-year stay in prison was not in vain,” Mr Kusa said. “I see it as going there to learn.”
First progress

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