Animal-pathway Development Story – Part 2

Posted on by

Episode 6:Construction of Animal-pathway Prototype

In October 2005, a life-size Animal-pathway was constructed on a private road to verify the safety of actual use by wildlife, such as snow accumulation and icicles.

◆A picture from the top of the Animal-pathway demonstration machine.

Despite the challenges of transporting heavy batteries through a forest without a power supply in the snow, the team had difficulty capturing footage of the animals using the monitoring cameras.

◆Observing Snow Accumulation

Episode 7: Confirmation of Use by Japanese Squirrels and Dourmouse !

May of the following year, one of the members successfully captured footage of a Japanese squirrel crossing the Animal- pathway. Monitoring footage of the prototype was also taken, and it was confirmed that Dormouse were also using it.

Footage of Squirrel Crossing 1 (Filmed by Otake)

With this confirmation, proposals for installation on public roads began in earnest!

Footage of Squirrel Crossing 2 (Filmed by Otake)

Episode 8:Selecting a Location for Installation at the Foot of Mount Yatsugatake (Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture)

After a request from the mayor of Hokuto City through Chairman Minato, the Animal-pathway was approved for installation on a city road. However, selecting the installation location was critical. To confirm the presence of Japanese squirrels, Japanese dormouse (Yamane), and Japanese field mouse (Himenezumi),, the team conducted investigations of feeding traces and nesting in the forest along the roadside. Roadkill and crossing sightings were also taken into consideration, and the team selected trees that the animals prefer and chose the installation location accordingly.

◆Volunteers Building Animal-pathway

Since the roof was to be installed underneath, where people and cars would pass, materials that would melt snow were used. Additionally, since dormouse are skilled at running upside down on tree branches to avoid predators like owls, they made sure that the animal pathway would be invisible to them as well. On the day of construction, the research group members assembled and transported the main structure. There were also volunteers who participated.

◆Transporting the Main Structure with Volunteers

◆Started operation of Animal-pathway (Hokuto-city No.1 unit)

Episode9:Monitoring Forest Creatures

Monitoring began simultaneously with the installation of the Animal-pathway. They installed a recorder to record and transmit data to the Dormouse Museum, and laid LAN cables over a distance of approximately 700m. On the 18th day of installation, a Yamane was captured using the pathway in the monitoring footage.

◆Upside-Down Dormouse Crossing the Animalp-athway

Soon after, Japanese field mouse (Himenezumi) also began to frequently use the pathway. After widening the introduction road connecting the Animal-pathway and the forest, Japanese squirrels also began to use it.

◆Japanese Squirrel Crossing the Animal-pathway

However, what was unexpected was the use of the pathways by Hondo martens. They are natural enemies of Japanese dormouse (Yamane) and Japanese field mouse (Himenezumi). In fact, triangular shelters are also prepared on the Animal-pathway so that they can escape when encountering predators such as Japanese martens.

◆A Japanese Hondo marten crossing the Animal-pathway.

All creatures in the forest are doing their best day and night to survive.

Episode 10: Winner of the Civil Engineering Society Award

In 1998, the Dormouse Bridge was featured on the cover of the Civil Engineering Society’s journal.

◆ Civil Engineering Society Journal Cover: Yamane Bridge

As a result, when we applied for the Civil Engineering Society Award, the small-cost Animal-pathway won the environmental award alongside large-scale projects that cost billions of yen.

◆ Civil Engineering Society Environmental Award

This gave momentum to the Animal-pathway Research Association, and we are aiming for further development and dissemination in the future


To be continued in “The Story of Animal Pathway Development Part 3.