An ocelot died on a South Texas highway a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the cat got caught on the highway and couldn’t escape across the concrete barrier meant to keep cars and trucks in the roadway. This is the fourth ocelot killed since the barrier was erected. Less than fifty ocelots remain in the wild in the U.S.
“We believe the concrete barrier is contributing to the increase in ocelot deaths by vehicles in this area” stated Laguna Atascosa Refuge Manager Boyd Blihovde. “Many animals will not, or cannot, jump them, get trapped on the road and pose a danger to drivers and themselves. We have been working with the Texas Department of Transportation on constructing wildlife crossings, but clearly more needs to be done”
Yes, clearly more does need to be done and not just to protect the ocelots but to also protect other animals and also humans from the trap that modern highway design creates. As a cyclists the delineation created by concrete curbs and barriers, so desired by highway designers, has often put me in a position where I couldn’t escape cars and other vehicles I thought were coming too close to me.
I can understand wanting to restrain cars and trucks from leaving a roadway but what about pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife? Design of these highways need to consider all eventualities. Give us a way to escape.