Why did the emus cross the road?

To get to the other side! Fauna bridges protect both drivers and native animals by creating safe access over busy roads.

Published: 24 September 2021, Updated: 25 October 2021

When driving along Tonkin Highway in Ellenbrook, you may notice a different type of bridge over the highway. Rather than a typical bridge for cars or pedestrians, this is the first dedicated, fully-vegetated animal overpass in the state. Cameras on the bridge have captured a parade of native animals throughout the day and night, including an adorable family of baby emus. 

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Images: Baby emus crossing the fauna bridge

The 12 metre wide overpass provides a natural route that encourages and allows animals of all kinds to cross the freeway safely. The benefits are twofold, preventing vehicle crashes with large animals and saving smaller ones from tragic ends. 

To make the animals feel more comfortable, the fauna bridge is densely landscaped to mimic the natural environment using native trees, bushes, shrubs and ground covers. Natural barriers such as heavy logs are used to discourage unauthorised human access. 

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Images: Various animals crossing the fauna bridge during the day and night

As well as emus and kangaroos, other animals seen on the bridge include native bats, native mice, wallaby, southern brown bandicoot (Quenda), skinks, lizards, ducks, monitor lizards, blue-tongue lizards, various snakes (western carpet python, tiger snake, bardick and dugite) and small bird species.

Caring for the environment

Fauna bridges are one of the ways we try to minimise the impact on wildlife and maintain important pathways for animals to travel between their habitats. As part of the NorthLink project, the team also constructed an additional 12 fauna underpasses to provide animals different routes and pathways. 

All our proposed works and projects are screened for potential environmental and heritage impacts. We are committed to:

  • Protecting and enhancing the environmental values of road reserves;
  • Minimising the impact on the natural environment of roads and road use; and
  • Conserving natural resources and minimising energy consumption and waste.

Some of our other environmental initiatives include the construction of artificial hollows for Carnaby Black Cockatoos, research into dieback elimination methods, and surveying one of WA’s most endangered marsupials – the Western Ringtail Possum.

Learn more about our environment work.
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Acknowledgement of country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

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