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Asia's largest wildlife corridor on Delhi-Dehradun Expressway, Explained!

Delhi Dehradun expressway will reduce journey time between two cities and will also be unique due to a 12-kilometer-long wildlife corridor.

By Shishir Agrawal
New Update
delhi dehradun expressway wildlife corridor route map

Read in Hindi | According to the news reports, the expressway connecting Delhi to Dehradun will be inaugurated in December this year i.e. 2023. Apart from reducing the journey from Delhi to Dehradun from 6 hours to 2 hours, this expressway will also be unique due to a 12-kilometer-long wildlife corridor. It is believed to be the largest wildlife corridor in Asia. In this corridor, 6 animal underpasses, 2 elephant underpasses as well as 2 major and 13 minor bridges are to be constructed.

Delhi Dehradun Expressway 12 KM wildlife corridor map
Created by Ground Report

The last 20 km of the Delhi-Dehradun Expressway will pass through the eco-sensitive zone of Raja Ji National Park. This where Asia's longest elevated wildlife corridor (12 km) is being built, including the 340-metre Daat Kali tunnel.

What are wildlife corridors?

Wildlife corridors are constructed with the aim of human development and environmental protection. This is the part associated with any development project. Here, construction is done keeping in mind the natural standards, with the intention of reducing human-animal conflict. In simple language, while making the expressway, some under or over bridges will be made in such a way that animals can cross the road, and they do not die due to collision with vehicles.

Broadly there are 2 types of wildlife corridors:

Natural Wildlife Corridor

There are long ranges of forests and mountains in many parts of the world including India. These places have been created naturally in such a way that different types of animals, fish, or birds can co-habit. These ranges are called Natural Wildlife Corridors. Let's understand it through an example.

Kanha and Pench National Parks are the two important national parks of the country. The Kanha-Pench Tiger Corridor located in the middle of these two national parks is an important natural corridor of the country. About 79 forests come under this part of Madhya Pradesh spread over about 16 thousand square kilometers. Out of this, the tiger is found in 21 places, leopard in 59, dhole in 25 places, sloth bears in 48 places, and hyenas in 8 places.

kanha pench wildlife corridor map
Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/12/4902

Wild animals generally move from one place to another in search of food or to escape from hunters. In such a situation, any human interference in the middle of the forest or near it can be fatal. Like tiger or lions generally live in their area. While living in this area, they do hunting and breeding activities. But when attacked and defeated by another tiger or lion, they have to go to another place to make their territory. In such a situation, the importance of the Wildlife Corridor increases.

Man-made Wildlife Corridor

As it is clear from the name that these corridors are made by humans for the purpose of keeping wildlife safe. These corridors are made keeping in mind the local nomadic animals of any place. Above we started talking with the example of the Delhi-Dehradun Expressway. But, let us know about the Wildlife Corridor built in Canada's Banff National Park.

Trans-Canada Highway through wildlife bridge
Trans-Canada Highway through wildlife bridge | Photo: Flickr

In the year 1996, 2 overpasses were constructed on the Trans-Canada Highway. The cost of each overpass was approximately $1.5 million. After this, another underpass was also constructed on this highway. This type of construction brought miraculous changes in death due to collisions with vehicles. Due to this corridor, these accidents were reduced by up to 80 percent. This corridor is counted among the best man-made wildlife corridors.

Importance

A wildlife corridor is considered important in the direction of wildlife conservation. On the one hand, it reduces the death of animals due to collisions with vehicles. Some experts believe that more research should be done on their construction and along with it the way of movement of local animals from one place to another (migratory habits) so that they can be made more effective. Dr. Nick Haddad of Michigan State University has been doing research in this direction for the past 30 years. They studied a corridor built for butterflies and found surprising results. Talking to a website, he explains, "Not only butterflies but birds, small mammals, pollinators, and plants, which got destroyed by wind, all benefited from this corridor that was built for butterflies."

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