As part of the effort to increase safety for people and wildlife along I-40 in Tijeras Canyon, volunteers have been documenting wildlife tracks beneath I-40 underpasses. The purpose of this tracking to determine a "baseline" for the wildlife that has been using the underpasses before the current DOT project is completed. These results will then be compared to tracking surveys done after the DOT Tijeras Canyon project is done. By comparing the results of tracking surveys before and after, we will be able to get a sense of how successful the Safe Passage project has been.
The tracking surveys done so far show that coyotes, raccons, and skunks routinely use the I-40 underpasses. Bobcat and ringtail tracks have also been found. The most important animal, however, that we've found evidence of using the underpasses is deer. Deer are the most skittish of wildlife that will use the underpasses, so it is likely that all the area's wildlife (including black bears and cougars) are also using the underpasses if they are being used by deer.