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India's first-ever 5 'Animal Bridges'. Here's everything you need to know!

By Priti Kumari

Moving a step toward the mitigation of man-animal conflict, the Union Government has assured the construction of the country's maiden (5) 'animal overpass' on the under constructed Delhi-Mumbai greenfield expressway, with a combined length of 2.5 km. India is all set to ensure disturbance-free passage to the animals residing nearby the Ranthambore Wildlife Corridor connecting Ranthambore & Mukundra(Darrah) Wildlife Sanctuaries in Rajasthan.

The 'Wildlife crossings' (like tunnels, bridges, culverts etc.) are the repercussion of animal habitat fragmentation fashioned due to human-made barriers, viz. roads & railway lines and so forth. It is worth noting, India already had some 'wildlife crossings', for instance, 9 underpasses were constructed in NH-44 passing the Pench Tiger Reserve and the Pench-Navegaon-Nagzira corridor and so on.

At Rajasthan Government's nod, the proposal has been forwarded to the Central Wildlife Board. Interestingly, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that the construction work will begin within the next two months and will be completed by 2022. A source privy to the matter stated, "There will be no chance of any conflict as the wild animals will get such passage at every '500 metres interval'.The passage will be developed as part of a forest corridor with trees so that animals find it natural". The source also said, "A boundary wall of 8 metres with noise barriers will also be installed". "The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is keen to showcase it as a sustainable model of development and for mitigation of the wildlife-traffic conflict where it's necessary to build a road through such corridors," the source added.

Let's hope that everything goes as per the plan and soon India, as some of European Countries, will be capable to curb man-animal conflict.

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