What are Eco-Bridges or Eco-ducts?

Context in Current Affairs: The Ramnagar Forest Division in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand built the first eco-bridges for smaller mammals and reptiles.

What are Eco-Bridges?

The Eco-Bridges or Eco-Ducts are constructed to enhance the wildlife connectivity that are usually disrupted due to logging or highways. It includes concrete underpasses, canopy bridges or overpass tunnels, amphibian tunnels. These bridges are usually overlaid with planting from the area to give a contiguous look with the landscape. The eco-bridges also include overpasses, fish ladders, green roofs, tunnels, canopy bridges.

Need

According to the Wildlife Institute of India, around 50,000 kilometres of road projects have been constructed in India in five to six years. Also, several highways have been upgraded to four lanes. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, major animal corridors are cut by the National Highways. They are the State Highway 33 through Nagarhole Tiger Reerve in Karnataka, National Highway 37 through the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape in Assam. Therefore, it is essential to build these animal pathways to prevent from disrupting their natural co-habitation.

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.

Scientist Divya Mudappa of 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.

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