8 December 2020.
Ramnagar Forest Division in Nainital district, Uttarakhand, recently built its first eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals.
What are eco-bridges and why are they important?
- Eco-bridges are wildlife corridors designed to connect habitats, allowing animals to pass between areas separated by human infrastructure.
- 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 important to preserve the ecosystem.
- A 2020 study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and National Tiger Conservation Authority have found that 50,000 km of road projects have been sanctioned for construction in India and three major sites cut across animal corridors including National Highway 37 through the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape in Assam, and State Highway 33 through the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.
Facts About Eco-Bridges
- The two main aspects considered in building the eco bridges are size and location.
- These bridges should be built based on the animal movement patterns.
- Nature Conservation Foundation built canopy bridges for Nilgri Langurs and lion-tailed Macaques.
- The IUCN Red List of threatened species lists Lion Tailed Macaque and Nilgri Langur as “Endangered”.
- Around six bridges were built across three kilo metres of stretch.
First Five Animal Bridges in India
- The bridges have been planned to avoid disturbances in Ranthambore Wildlife Corridor.
- The first five animal bridges are planned on the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway
- These animal bridges will help avoid man-animal conflict.
- The Ranthambore National Park is located in Rajasthan.
- It was declared as the Project Tiger Reserve in 1973.