Road Ecology & Canopy Bridge

‘Habitat fragmentation’ is a recurring term upon discussions about threats to wildlife of the forest in our country. Between 2016 to 2019, LPP has recorded 7 incidents of roadkill involving the Dusky Langurs, and Sunda slow loris along a 1 km stretch road in Teluk Bahang, Penang, and received several roadkill incidents of other arboreal wildlife across Peninsular Malaysia, such as plantain squirrels and long-tailed macaques from the community. Roadkill rates are expected to increase as infrastructure development continues to expand across the nation.

LPP built the first artificial road canopy bridge in Malaysia in Teluk Bahang, Penang in February 2019, which has since been successfully assisting arboreal wildlife to safely move between habitat fragments that were previously disconnected by road infrastructure (Yap et al., 2022). This pilot bridge can be considered a tremendous success leading zero new mammal roadkills since its construction. Four days after its construction, the first long-tailed macaque already used the bridge (recorded via a camera trap), followed by plantain squirrels and dusky langurs. In total, 2,128 animal crossings comprising three mammal species were recorded between March 2019 and May 2021. Today, there are more than 5,000 new crossing events on camera traps that are currently being analyzed by LPP team members.

To date, three charismatic arboreal species (Plantain Squirrel, Long-tailed Macaque, and Dusky Langur) have been observed using the upcycled fire hose canopy bridge to cross the road. No roadkill has been reported around that coordinate since. A total of 2,128 wildlife crossings recorded in the 21,546 media files obtained between March 2019 to May 2020, with a total of 16,954 photos and 4,592 videos taken, equivalent to 2,296 minutes of footage.