Due to the heavy traffic on roads within Yangmingshan National Park, numerous animals are accidentally killed by vehicles. Far-reaching roads provide humans with a convenient and reliable means of transport, but have wreaked havoc on local ecosystems in the form of animal deaths, habitat fragmentation, hindered movement, gene isolation, and isolated populations, all of which seriously affect the balance of the ecosystem and biodiversity.
The Process and Results
The park began monitoring the most accident-prone segments of roads in 1995. In 2004, the park constructed five underground tunnels, or ecological corridors, for animals to cross safely. The corridors are located at the entrance to the Bailaka Highway (101A county highway) to the Bailaka Highway observation deck and underneath the Headquarters Visitor Center along the Yangjin Highway. The corridors are complete with guiding fences, anti-climbing panels, and other precautions, as well as infrared cameras with motion sensors and a video surveillance system at the exits to monitor the use of the tunnels by the animals. The park also continues to investigate traffic-related accidents involving animals.
After the corridors were completed, the amount of animals hit by cars was reduced by approximately 35%. This clearly shows the efficacy that these corridors—the first of their kind to be introduced in Taiwan—have for protecting animal life. The compiled surveillance footage can also be used for the promotion of environmental education and as reference material for future road works.
Animals killed by vehicles are mounted or reproduced and then utilized as teaching material for natural science instruction.