Trunk road underpass: How elephant herds were reunited
Sunday 30 January 2011
Zebra crossings are easy but how does an elephant get from one side of the road to another? Answer: it simply walks underneath.
At least, they can now, thanks to Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass – a new solution to the increasing problem of animal-human conflict in Africa.
It was 6.47pm when a gleaming set of white tusks poked through the end of the newly built underpass. A second set of tusks appeared, then a third. Moving cautiously, the three young males climbed a bank of dirt, made a sharp left turn and crashed into the forest.
The £150,000 tunnel – built with donated money – has connected two wilderness areas, Mount Kenya's highlands and the lower forests and plains, and brought together two distinct elephant populations separated for years by the road. Some 2,000 elephants live on Mount Kenya, with 5,000 occupying the lower plain.
Africa's wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from human development. Villages are being built and crops raised in areas that for centuries were the sole preserve of wild animals. The elephant underpass, which opened at Christmas, is just one small measure to make cohabitation a little easier.
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