Bridging A forest: Animal Crossings Malaysia

Nature’s way: Goats seen walking past the Sungai Yu highway underpass, built for wildlife crossings in Merapoh, Pahang.  The road below has yet to be closed.

Some RM60mil has been spent on building highway underpasses for wildlife to cross at Sungai Yu, Merapoh, Lipis Pahang.

Merapoh is near the border of Pahang and Kelantan, with Kuala Lipis 74km to the south and Gua Musang about 40km to the north.

Sungai Yu eco-viaduct, which is almost 1km long, the longest for tiger conservation in the world and two shorter ones of 300m and 80m.

When wilderness is sliced apart by a road coursing through it, eco-friendly engineering is needed.

For people, roads connect. They create linkages and bring people places, even to remote corners of the world. 

For wildlife, on the other hand, roads do just the opposite. They create barriers which cut animals off from a larger landscape. They keep animals away from food and potential mates, and are also deadly to cross. 

Despite all these threats to wildlife, roads that cut into wild habitats continue to be built, in the name of development and to shorten travel time.

The Simpang Pulai-Gua Musang-Kuala Berang Highway, or what is also known as the Second East-West Link.

The road was raised above-ground on columns – what is known as viaducts. 

Path for wildlife: To lessen the impact of roads on forests and wildlife movements, viaducts are being built as they provide a corridor beneath which links up spliced forest. This viaduct is at the Aring-Tasik Kenyir road in Terengganu. - TAN CHENG LI/The Star

There are several viaducts along the road, three were specifically designed with wildlife crossings in mind. They measure 245m, 140m and 245m in distances and were constructed between 2007 and 2008 at a cost of RM30mil.

Elephants break off branches as they feed along their route. This encourages the growth of new shoots which in turn attracts herbivores such as deer. Predators after these preys, such as tigers, will then follow suit.

Camera traps set up by Perhilitan and wildlife researchers have captured images of wildlife using the crossings – 16 species in total, including the elephant, tapir, sun bear, barking deer, sambar deer, serow, gaur, wild boar, porcupine, leopard cat, civet and panther.

Copy n Paste from Tan Chengli writing in The Star Online.

Image may contain: bridge, plant, outdoor and nature

Similar viaduct in Grik, Perak.


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