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Uccle to install three bridges for safer squirrel crossings

© Alex Lauzon vi Unsplash

The municipality of Uccle in the Brussels region is to build three road bridges intended to allow squirrels (and other animals) to cross busy roads safely.

The new bridges will join the Parc Fond’Roy and the nearby Plateau Avijl, with crossings at the Avenue Circulaire, where the Royal Observatory is, and the Kinsendael nature reserve and the Chaussée de Saint-Job.

The new bridges will follow the example of the bridge installed some time ago in Jette commune, which is a sort of net suspended high above the ground between two trees – dizzily high for ground-based humans, but no challenge to arboreal animals like squirrels.

According to Bruxelles Environnement, which is advising the project, each bridge only costs a few thousand euros.

“Not because of the construction itself, but rather because of the difficult installation, high above the ground,” Serge Kempeneers of Bruxelles Environnement told Bruzz.

How many animals will as a result of the bridges be saved by being able to cross safely is a matter for conjecture for the time being, but the result is certain to be ‘more than zero’.

“We don’t have cameras hanging by the bridge in Jette,” said Olivier Beck, biologist at Bruxelled Environnement.

“They are not easy to place there and it also takes quite a lot of time to read the images. So we cannot put an exact number on the number of animals that pass. At the Groenendaal ecoduct in the Sonian Forest, a much larger investment, there are cameras, but based on the reduced number of dead squirrels, we can say that the bridge in Jette is also a success.”