“When nothing goes right…go left”

About a week ago the mother of the civet cats who’d taken up residence in a pot on our balcony was hit by car and died.  I had been dreading something like this happening as rearing very young wild animals is both difficult and time consuming but, as the baby civet cats were de facto guests in our house, there was no choice.

The area where  I live is a development that considers itself to be ‘eco’ , although an eco development of a rainforest is an oxymoron if there ever was one.  Roads bisect the land and, as no consideration has been given to how the animals are meant to cross these roads safely, there is a fair amount of road kill.

The incident made me think of the eco-highway (another oxymoron) which is nearing completion in the wildlife corridor that separates Taman Negara national park from the Main Range of hills that form a north-south spine along peninsular Malaysia.  This corridor is a bottleneck between these two areas and a highway bisecting it was clearly going to create problems for animal movement between them.

Whether this highway was necessary or not is a question in itself but there has, at least, been an attempt to provide some crossing route for the animals.

civet_cat_babyThe idea was to have an ‘eco-highway’ whereby parts of the highway are elevated so that the animals can pass beneath.  A fairly optimistic notion as I imagine a lot of animals are not going to be particularly keen to walk beneath a highway as heavy trucks thunder above them and street lights glare down.

To make matters worse there are large areas of palm oil plantation on either side of sections of this ‘eco’ highway and this unnatural habitat is, again, likely to put animals off  making a crossing that will, to them at least, appear to traverse treacherous and alien terrain.

It’s  a shame that the whole effort is likely to be redundant unless the surrounding palm oil plantations can be restored to true forest that the animals feel safe in.

Perhaps the problem stems from the mistaken classification of palm oil plantations as forests and thus whoever planned this ‘eco’ highway didn’t see an issue….but palm oil plantations are not forests, they are, as the name explains, plantations of a single species of palm….even the animals know that.