chickenWe’ve lost our wilderness, lost it, according to Bruce Finley, because of development that has gobbled up more than 500 square miles of Colorado.

That sounds like a chunk of land, considering the state covers more than 100,000 square miles. And it’s according to an environmental group, so you know the findings are unassailable, as far as Finley is concerned.

But a close read of the findings shows it’s not just urban sprawl sprawling out of control with the construction of McMansions, rather wildlife habitat has been fragmented because of roads. Which would explain how that destruction managed to creep along hundreds of miles.

It’s also blamed on energy development, those pads in the middle of nowhere that are a dot on the landscape. Science hasn’t confirmed it, but when wildlife sees blacktop or steel with no humans about, it can cause such stress as to force them to look at it.

Here’s what the study’s scientists, David Theobald of the Colorado State University, had to say:

“If we want to have wildlife populations be able to move across the land, the most widely recommended strategy is to maintain connectivity of landscapes,” he said. “If we are increasingly fragmented, that does not bode well.”

It looks like scientists tackled that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Answer: The chicken did not cross the road because it fragmented the chicken’s habitat, and as the chicken is a distant cousin of the endangered Chantecler, the road should be destroyed.