Country's first elevated highway dedicated to wildlife !

Elevated highway over Pench Tiger Reserve| India's first elevated highway through the forest| Tiger found using the underpass at Pench  

A historic step was taken by the government of Maharashtra, India, and forest authorities to build an elevated highway over a Tiger reserve to facilitate the movement of wildlife across National Highway 44 and to create a balance between ecosystem and development.


Elevated Highway(NH 44) through Pench Tiger Reserve 

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The co-existence of humanity and wildlife is of utmost importance for the balance of nature. But from the past few hundred years, greed and rapid urbanization have been a curse for the existing balance of nature. The urge for a better standard of living for the people has been the main reason for the overutilization of resources and exploitation of animals around us for domestic needs.

It is of the utmost concern that rapid infrastructural development should not destroy the wildlife and nature around anymore but has to be carried out sustainably. Especially the construction of roads and tourism establishments cause the most damage to the forest cover around. However, this issue can be addressed by the ideology of Ecotourism.

Ecotourism is a sustainable exploration of natural areas and forest covers thereby benefitting the flora and fauna around by spreading awareness for conservation and taking the assistance of the local tribes and community which are known to the area the most.

One such example of sustainable development and road mitigation has been set by the Government of Maharashtra wherein an elevated highway has been built over one of the most famous tiger reserves in India which is the Pench Tiger Reserve. 


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This was an experimental step taken by the authorities as it one of a kind project built keeping in the movement of sustaining wildlife in the region. But it came much of a surprise when a scientist with Wildlife Institute of India, Bilal Habib placed camera traps on its underpasses and the results were so ecstatic. 

The cameras have recorded movement of deers, some cattle and dogs at first which was quite convincing but after a couple of months, a leopard, gaur, sloth bear, many langurs, and most important a female tigress was observed using these underpasses to cross the forest cover.


Tiger at Pench Corridor 

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After analysis for a couple of months, the project was declared a huge success as many forthcoming projects were to be designed based on the same concept in the other parts of the country as well but due to the increased cost of building such structures, it was very important for this particular project to be a huge success. This elevated highway has been built for thirty-seven kilometers as a part of the National Highway 44 which connects Seoni- Nagpur and includes nine underpasses and four minor bridges.

This elevated stretch has not only helped in the movement of animals in the region but also reduced road accidents which have been the main cause of animal death in the Kanha-Pench Corridor. 

But this now has led us to a big question - whether such an ideology can be applied to a vast 55000 km stretch of road network spread in the forest area across the country.

Elevated highway over Pench Tiger Reserve| India's first elevated highway through the forest| Tiger found using the underpass at Pench