March 16, 2017

Why Did the Deer Cross the Road? Because She Had a Safe Place to Pass

The $10M wildlife overpass/underpass project is being used heavily by mule deer.

coyote hero (PHOTO: Peggy Coleman)

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PHOENIX - Last year, a new overpass and underpass opened that cross State Route 77 near Oro Valley. But this nearly $10 million improvement project is not for you - unless, of course, you’re an animal.

This may provide an answer to the question, “Why did the mule deer cross the road?” It's possible that it’s because she finally had a safe way to do so.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has said, so far, mule deer have been the heaviest users of the wildlife crossing. They make up about half the nearly 1,200 animals that have been documented using either the underpass or overpass between April 2016 and January of this year.

Other big users include coyotes, javelina and bobcats. Game and Fish and a coalition of other agencies will study the number of animals using the wildlife crossing for four years, as well as the number of animals killed trying to cross a six-mile stretch of State Route 77 that borders either side of accommodation.

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