- Recently, Ramnagar Forest Division in Nainital district, Uttarakhand, recently built its first eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals.
Why eco-bridges matter
- Eco-ducts or eco-bridges aim to enhance wildlife connectivity that can be disrupted because of highways or logging.
- These include canopy bridges (usually for monkeys, squirrels and other arboreal species); concrete underpasses or overpass tunnels or viaducts (usually for larger animals); and amphibian tunnels or culverts.
- Usually these bridges are overlaid with planting from the area to give it a contiguous look with the landscape.
- The bridge is an awareness-building mechanism for this very congested tourist route.
- The bridge was a way to see how we can preserve the ecosystem necessary for reptiles that feed on insects, for snakes that feed on reptiles, and for eagles that feed on snakes.
- The span and distribution of eco-bridges should depend on animal movement patterns. “The bigger bridges will see sambar, spotted deer, nilgai, wild pig using them, while for tigers or leopards, if the bridge is 5m or 500 m, it doesn’t bother them. But some animals like the barking deer, which prefer closed habitats, need smaller bridges.
- The observation on NH 44, which intersects Kanha-Pench and Pench-Navegaon-Nagzira corridors in various sections, is a success.
- With five animal underpasses and four minor bridges on the 6.6-km road within the forests, it’s one of India’s success stories.
Other bridges in news
- One of the largest underpasses – 1.4km – for animal conservation is India is being built along the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border.
- Other proposals include the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway, in the Hosur-Krishnagiri segment, near reserve forests for elephant crossings, and in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur, Maharashtra.
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