TENNESSEE, USA — The UT Arboretum Society and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning are hosting a virtual workshop on Thursday at 7 p.m. to educate people about the need for safe wildlife passages near I-40.
Jeff Hunter, senior program manager with National Parks Conservation Association in Asheville, said several organizations have been working closely together to collect data and research options for the winding stretch of I-40 at the North Carolina state line that often serves as a death trap for wildlife.
“70 dead bears is not an insignificant number. There's also a safety issue for motorists, and there's a cultural issue. What’s the value of a live bear in Eastern Tennessee, in Western North Carolina? It's absolutely huge. If we can provide an opportunity for safe passage here, over generations bear, elk, deer will teach their young to use these structures. It will address a wildlife conservation issue by reconnecting a fragmented landscape… and it makes the road safer for motorists. So, it's a total, win, win,” Hunter said.