In a novel initiative, the Uttarakhand Forest Department has built a one of a kind eco-bridge in the Ramnagar forest division of Nanital district so that reptiles or animals crossing the busy jungle road stretch do not come under vehicle tyres.
The bridge, which cost Rs 2 lakh and is made of bamboo, jute and grass is 90-feet in length. Built across the two-lane Kaladhungi-Nainital highway, it took contractors 10 days to finish the structure, said an Indian Express report.
The bridge is 5-foot wide and stands 40-feet above the ground and can bear the weight of three adults. The forest department officials hope that not just reptiles, even animals such as leopard will too make use of it, thereby ensuring their safety while crossing the busy road. A good number of vehicles daily ply on the highway to Nainital and the adjoining jungles houses many reptiles including pythons and lizards of varying kinds. Rodents, squirrels and monkeys are also many times hit by vehicles moving on the road.
Vaibhav Singh of the IFS, Uttarakhand posted photos of the bridge:
A step in the right direction ! Canopy Bridge made by #Ramnagar Forest Division of #UttarakhandForestDepartment to provide a safe passage to arboreal #wildlife on Kaladhungi-Nainital highway !! @vivek4wild @kundan_ifs @rameshpandeyifs @SuPriyoBabul @hridayeshjoshi pic.twitter.com/8hhh7Pr0z2— Vaibhav Singh,IFS (@VaibhavSinghIFS) November 27, 2020
Thus officials said the bridge was a necessity. The bridge reportedly will have four camera traps so that officials can monitor it. Ramnagar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Chandra Sekhar Joshi told the Indian Express that this is an experiment to try and built a proper micro environment for the animals.
Twitter users appreciated the initiative taken by the forest department and applauded the department for the needed step.
Important. Life is not only tigers and elephants which we all live. But squirrels and monkeys and smaller arboreal creatures need these. Hope the design is taken from tested methods @wti_org_india— Vivek Menon (@vivek4wild) November 27, 2020
Vow, nice piece of news ! Hope it is a nice beginning ! We need to make them with more durable material in camouflage colours that merge with the surroundings!— Atul Mohan (@atulMbhatnagar) November 28, 2020
Nice. Hopefully the trees can grow bigger and form natural dense canopies to help the wildlife crossover.— Sabyasachi Patra (@indiawilds) November 28, 2020
Vehicles usually slow down or stop to let the bigger animals pass but reptiles often come under the tyre. So in order to protect them, officials said there are plans to draw them toward the bridge by growing creepers, plants. Visitors in the area will also be made aware of the importance of the bridge by putting up boards with information.