China’s first wildlife overpass to open


The right steppe: Many places in Xinjiang, such as in the Altay area, are home to wild hoofed animals that migrate for hundreds of miles. — China Daily/Asia News Network

BEIJING: China’s first overpass for wildlife migration will be put into use in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Aug 1, creating a safe pathway for thousands of migrating animals.

The bridge, located over the newly constructed national highway between Fuyun county and Wucaiwan district, will link animal habitats separated by the road.

The bridge, measuring 100m long and 50m wide will be a corridor for wild horses, Mongolian gazelles, kiang wild asses and black-tailed gazelles, according to Jiang Xingming, director of the highway.

“It is the country’s first overpass designed specifically for the migration of wildlife,” Jiang said.

“It will provide safe passage to about 3,000 to 5,000 large hoofed animals.”

In order to fit in with the surrounding environment, Jiang said, the overpass is covered with a layer of sand about 50cm, much like the surrounding land.

Grass will also be planted and animal droppings placed on the overpass to help the animals find their way.

Pools will be installed on either side of the bridge to provide a water supply for the migrating wildlife.

Walls will be painted a light colour to blend in.

National Highway 216, which passes under the bridge, is expected to open on Aug 1, according to Zhang Xiuzhen, chief engineer for No 5 section of the project.

The highway, which was started in 2017, crosses the Junggar Basin and is designed with environmental protection as a top priority.

It passes through the Kalamely Hoofed Animal Wildlife Reserve and has one viaduct and 21 passageways for animal migration, according to Liu Weiwei, a project environmental engineer for one section of the highway. — China Daily/Asia News Network

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