The Uttarakhand Forest Department has built a special and never seen before eco bridge in the Ramnagar forest division of the Nanital district for reptiles to protect them from unprecedented accidents and help them cross the jungle road.
Kaladhungi Range Forest Officer, Amit Kumar Gwaskoti reported, the bridge is a 90-foot-long structure made with bamboo, jute, and grasses.
Made by local contractors, the bridge is built across the two-lane Kaladhungi-Nainital highway within a period of 10 days. The 5-foot wide, 40-feet high structure was developed and completed at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.
Four camera traps will be installed on the bridge for monitoring purposes and it will be studied as a model by the Forest Department, Ramnagar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Chandra Sekhar Joshi told the Indian Express.
The bridge can take the weight of 3 average adult humans. Apart from reptiles, the forest officials hope that the bridge will be used by the Leopards, further protecting other species.
Layered with grass and leaves, creepers will be grown over and around the bridge to attract reptiles and other small animals, officials stated.
Why was the bridge built?
The Kaladhungi-Nainital highway is the main route to Nainital, and is heavily used by a large number of vehicles especially during the tourist season. The surrounding jungle is home to monitor lizards, pythons, rodents, squirrels, and monkeys, that are often found crushed on the highway.
Thus, to protect the various species that camp in the jungle, the Uttarakhand Forest Department decided to set up the bridge.
“We are experimenting. We want to create suitable conditions for reptiles and other such animals so that they can use it. We want to create a micro-environment for them on the bridge,” DFO Joshi said.
Forest staff would patrol the area to ensure tourists do not try to use the bridge for selfies, he added.
Reptiles and other small animals are an integral part of the food chain and the ecosystem. As mindful citizens, it is our responsibility to protect those who don't have a voice of their own.
Similar upcoming projects
Similar to the ones in the Netherlands, it is also the hope that India gets its first-ever animal pass aimed to facilitate safe passage for animals.
One of the first proposals is to build the first animal bridge on the Delhi-Mumbai expressway. These overpasses shall ensure that Ranthambore Wildlife Corridor joining Ranthambhore and Mukundra (Darrah) wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan doesn't suffer from any kind of inconvenience.
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