Miaoli builds air-tunnel for animals to help them avoid danger of roads

When was the last time you saw a leopard cat? Taiwan's wildlife can do with all the help it can get, and Miaoli County government has a new way to protect animals from the dangers of road traffic. A purpose-built "tunnel," suspended in mid-air over a river, aims to reduce roadkill incidents by giving animals a safer passageway. And recent footage showed us the first leopard cat daring to poke its head inside the strange invention.

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In the dead of night, a camera caught a leopard cat entering the wild animals’ tunnel for a look around. But it came running out again in just 15 seconds.

But this intrepid cat was braver than most. As well as entering the swaying mid-air tunnel, it stopped for a look at the camera too.

Chang Wei, Miaoli County Agriculture Dept.: The diameter of the tunnel entrance is 100 centimeters wide. We made this natural-seeming design with wood shavings, and put in a ventilation hole next to it.

The precarious “tunnel” has an internal diameter of just 80 centimeters, too narrow for big animals. The 30-meter-long tunnel is reinforced with steel wire rope and lies over the Laozhuang river in Zhuolan Township.

Miaoli County’s Agricultural Department explained that preventing roadkill is a big motive for the project. They hope the tunnel will give animals like the leopard cat a safer way to move from one bank of the river to the other, and avoid traffic.

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