"Cars Are A Major Predator For Wildlife. How Is Nature Adapting To Our Roads?"

"Through evolution, animals have developed an array of defenses to help protect against predators. Porcupines use quills to fend off attackers; turtles hide under protective shells; skunks spray their enemies. But what happens when the "predator" is an automobile?

"All of those strategies — a skunk spray or a porcupine's quills or a turtle shell — those worked for thousands of generations against coyotes and foxes and hawks and other more natural predators," environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb says. "But against an F-250 barreling down I-90, they're not only useless, they're actually maladaptive. Standing your ground and hunkering down is the worst possible thing you can do."

In his new book, Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet, Goldfarb explains how roads and cars are changing the lives of wildlife all over the world — and how roadkill has created a "crisis for biodiversity."

"For species like ocelots and Florida panthers and tiger salamanders, roadkill is a true existential threat," he says. "Roadkill is not only eliminating animals, it's in many cases eliminating those healthy animals that populations need to remain strong.""

Terry Gross reports for NPR September 26, 2023.

Source: NPR, 09/27/2023