Safe Havens for Our Wildlife Has No ETA on the Horizon

07/08/2014 06:31 pm ET | Updated Sep 07, 2014

It's a tempting idea -- no doubt one that helped shape the thinking behind the creation of the first federally protected wildlife sanctuaries under Theodore Roosevelt -- that wild animals can exist happily in somewhat the same manner as humans can.

What might be considered a great way to feather the nests for our friends in the wild overhead and below -- enabling them an ample, designated area where their various preferred habitats might remain intact and their dietary staples might be found.

However, what this overlooks, we have since come to better understand, is the importance of their migratory patterns.

Birds are having troubles of their own, as light pollution interferes with their nighttime navigation, but at least no one's physically blocking the sky. Migratory land animals are increasingly obliged to negotiate highways, fences, deforested regions, and expanding human development. Startling increasing numbers for those losing their lives to the consequences of climate change.

The complexities inherent in preserving migratory corridors are significant, involving numerous private landowners, state and federal agencies, and conflicting interests, but it can be done -- Wyoming, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, has thus far provided some solid evidence of success.

Even so, the results are far from a game changer as they are limited to one species--the Pronghorn, which has predictable and trackable patterns. For other wildlife taking any number of migration routes, their chances of solid protection have no guarantees, leading many scientists to be skeptical of the overall benefits of protected wildlife corridors.

So, the conversation shifts from scientific solutions to political resolutions and those fly far into the wind into the distant future.

It's a shame to see how loudly the calls for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which involves much the same kind of logistical challenges, are amplified by a shortsighted few at Fox News and Koch Industries, when the preservation of our remaining Megafauna -- a resource unlikely to be technologically obviated, like oil, any time soon -- remains a backwater in the national discourse.