Transport infrastructure projects have long been recognized as disruptors of ecosystems existing in terrestrial environments, often leading to habitat loss. Habitat loss in turn will lead to endangerment and eventual loss of animal species that cannot adopt to changes in their environment.
Several studies reveal that even bats are at risk, particularly the low-flying species, as many have become victims of road kill. They are also among the wildlife animals most affected by habitat loss, since they are nocturnal they need to stay in resting places where they can take protection while under cover of darkness.
Loss of habitat among bat species also raises concerns that as these animals are driven to seek shelter in the dark recesses of transportation infrastructures, they find the attics of human homes a better place in which to commune and breed. The greater danger in driving bats to these often undisturbed areas of a building is that they are known to be developers and carriers of the dreaded coronavirus strain.
Government’s Response to Reports about Transport Infrastructure Impact on Wildlife
While the studies have raised government awareness about the environmental issues and problems caused by road projects and transportation development, the problems have made the projects more complex and expensive. Planners are faced with challenges of needing to reconcile the different purposes of road development with the goals of environmental conservation.
Their mission became more complex as they have to determine the ecologies affected by the proposed roads; matters that they have to take into account in planning, designing and building as well as in maintaining the completed road projects. The complexity of course denotes the need to expand the project requirements, which naturally increases the costs of the infrastructure in excess of what has been provided as budget.
The issues became controversial when animal conservationists and environmentalists pushed for laws that require local governments to integrate mitigation measures aimed at protecting wildlife and preserving ecosystems.
Eventually in 1998, then U.S. President Bill Clinton enacted a law passed by Congress, known as “The Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-First Century (TEA-21). The legislation required transportation projects to integra provisions for the protection of the environment. The TEA-21 law also made it important for local and state governments to initiate transportation projects only if they aim to improve and support fuel efficiency, production of cleaner fuels and as alternative means of transport.
However, while those laws have been enacted more than two decades ago, communities in rural areas are still seeing an increase of wildlife visitors in their backyard, especially bat inhabitants in their attics. It has become important for community dwellers to call on wildlife removal experts who use only humane methods in capturing and relocating the mammals. In San Antonio, Texas the AAAC Wildlife Removal of San Antonio are reputed, not only in applying animal-friendly methods of removal but also for instituting effective measures for preventing bats from coming back to live in attics.