Bridging habitats to save wildlife


WILDLIFE corridors, also known as “eco-bridges”, are zones of habitat that connect wildlife populations that would otherwise be severed by human activities or structures such as roads or other infrastructure, farming, mining or logging.The corridor plays a crucial role in connecting animal and plant populations that would otherwise be isolated and therefore at greater risk of local extinction.

Eco-bridges may include green roofs (for butterflies and birds); tunnels and culverts (for small mammals such as otters, hedgehogs and badgers); amphibian tunnels; fish ladders; canopy bridge (especially for monkeys and squirrels); and underpass tunnels, viaducts, and overpasses (mainly for large or herd-type animals).

The tragic death of a male elephant calf in Kota Tinggi, Johor reflects the urgent need for the authorities to build eco-bridges so that wild animals will have a greater chance of survival, “Elephant calf crossing Kota Tinggi-Mersing road killed by car” (The Star, Sept 1; online at https://bit.ly/3jB3uGh).

Malaysians must understand that due to forest clearing as part of the country’s development, wildlife in the encroached areas would be forced to move around and would be at risk of getting on the busy roads or highways nearby.

The deafening sound of traffic will not stop big mammals like elephants and tigers from crossing the highways nor myriad smaller creatures such as monkeys and raccoons from being squelched by car tyres.

Constructing wildlife crossings is not just about saving the lives of individual animals, it’s also about ensuring the survival of the species.

As articulated by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States: “The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.”

SUZIANAH NHAZZLA

Shah Alam


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