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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Make animal tunnels mandatory


The government must take into account the welfare of the local wildlife population when approving infrastructure and housing projects, says an activist.
KUALA PILAH: Does the Malaysian authorities take into account wildlife when approving infrastructure and development projects such as roads, highways and housing estates that border or slice through natural habitats?
It’s a pertinent question with which most animal activists would concur considering the number of random animals found dead along the highways in Malaysia.
Earlier in January this year, a Seremban-based animal rights activist, Manoharan Balan contacted FMT and raised the issue of the countless monkeys found dead on the Seremban-Kuala Lumpur federal road. The road passed the Bukit Putus Forest Reserve.
“It’s a tragedy to see these innocent monkeys lying dead or decaying carcasses” said Balan who drives to Kuala Pilah through the Bukit Putus every week.
Since the matter came to FMT’s attention, this writer has made it point to do random checks along the stretch to Kuala Pilah, Bahau, Jempol and Gemas.
Of the 12 trips made, this writer spotted dead monkeys on the road on at least four occasions.
The latest being last month. This writer was driving along the stretch at dawn when he spotted a monkey with fresh blood stains on the road. The monkey looked like it had been hit just hours before.
Be sensitive to animals, please
Meanwhile Balan when contacted urged the authorities to take into account the surroundings when approving development plans.
“All life forms are created by god and must be respected. Today the world is being destroyed by man because of their greed. How much is enough or what is the end of development?
“Simple examples are our highways and roads. We cut into the jungles and run the highways and new roads with no thought to its inhabitants.
“We have no right to kill other living things because we do not own this earth.
“Every living thing, trees, bushes, plants and animals own this earth.
“In the west the people have learnt from their mistakes. So we have examples of what we should and should not do. Cutting down a tree, for instance, is the same as chopping down a man.
“Why can’t we think of making tunnels under the highways for the animals to cross?” he asked, urging the government to be sensitive on animal rights and set a true example of a caring society.
Bridges and tunnels for wildlife are a norm in Europe where animal activism is rife. France was the first country to introduce a wildlife crossing in the 1950s.
Holland is another country that gives much emphasis on wildlife welfare. There are over 600 animal tunnels built along the country’s roads and highways.
Balan said the government should make it mandatory for projects alongside natural habitats to include the construction of such bridges and tunnels.

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