Frequently Asked Questions about Animal-pathway
Q1. What is the use of Animal-pathway ?
A1. When a forest is divided by the construction of roads, animals that live in the forest have to cross the road or they are unable to cross even by climbing branches. Animal-pathways are designed to provide bridges for these animals to cross.
Q2. Where are Animal-pathways located?
A2. Thirteen Animal-pathways have been installed in Japan so far, but some have already been removed, leaving only nine currently in use. They are located in Mie, Aichi, Yamanashi, Tochigi, Iwate, Hokkaido, and other prefectures. Overseas, an Animal-pathway is located in the southern resort island of Wight in the United Kingdom.
Q3. Who uses Animal-pathways?
A3. Animal-pathways are designed for various creatures to use. Animals that live in trees such as squirrels, Japanese dormouse, and Japanese dwarf flying squirrel, as well as gliders like Japanese giant flying squirrel, and martens use Animal-pathways. Insects that live in the treetops, especially spiders and beetles, frequently use them, and various birds also use them.
Q4. What is a roadkill?
A4. It refers to the death of wild animals such as Japanese squirrels, who were crossing roads or looking for food on roads and were hit by cars, etc. There are many roadkills of Japanese squirrels.
Q5. How much does it cost to build an Animal-pathways?
A5. The cost varies depending on the conditions of the installation location. In Kiyosato, Yamanashi, the Yamane (dormouse) Bridge cost 20 million yen, so they aimed for one-tenth of that cost. However, the cost of the pre-and-post-installation surveys is also significant, so the NGO took on that expense.
Q6. Who installs Animal-pathways and how can we increase them?
A6. The installation of Animal-pathway is done by municipalities and the national government, which are responsible for road management. It is best to install Animal-pathways when existing roads are widened or improved, but it is also possible to install them separately.
◆ Japan’s Roads and Railways and Forests
The total length of roads in Japan is approximately 1.27 million km, and the total length of railways is approximately 27,000 km. It is said that the forest area ratio in Japan’s land is 68%.
Q7. I have never seen a Japanese dormouse, where can I find one?
A7. The Japanese dormouse is a rare and cute nocturnal animal that is designated as a national natural monument and is rarely seen. It weighs approximately 0.63 ounces, has a body length of about 3.1 inches, and a tail of about 2 inches, making it small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. In Kiyosato, Yamanashi Prefecture, it hibernates for about 6 months. The Japanese dormouse has a distinctive black stripe on its back and moves quickly by running up and down branches.
Q8. Why are arboreal animals in the forest important?
A8. The forest ecosystem pyramid consists of top predators such as owls, eagles, and martens, and medium-sized animals such as dormice and squirrels that are their prey, and insects and other small organisms at the bottom. If the genetic diversity of the intermediate layer of the forest ecosystem is compromised by fragmentation, there is a risk of regional extinction. If this happens, the top predators will also lose their prey, and the forest ecosystem will be destroyed. Therefore, the presence of the intermediate layer is extremely important.
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