Overcoming numerous challenges

The Prototype of the Animal-pathway

Overcoming numerous challenges, the initial experimental research was conducted to determine what kind of animal pathway would be easily utilized by arboreal small animals.

For example, the choice of materials for the bridge was considered. While a metallic material would be suitable in terms of durability, would it be preferred by animals?

What about the color, shape, size, and the location of installation?

Various challenges were discussed, and experiments were conducted within the Japanese dormouse’s enclosure to observe their reactions. An experimental animal pathway was also constructed within the premises of the Keep Association for monitoring. Each result was compiled and analyzed.

With the goal of providing specific proposals for a “widely adopted animal pathway,” the research committee was established in 2004.

As members, the Keep Association, Shimizu Construction, Taisei Corporation, and the Japanese Dormouse Conservation Research Group participated. Each member contributes their expertise to research, practical implementation, and promotion of the animal pathway from various perspectives.

In August 2007, the animal pathway was finally established on a public road in Kitamino City, Yamanashi Prefecture. The installation process received tremendous support from many volunteers.

This event led to the appearance of the animal pathway in magazines, news articles, and even manga, gaining media attention nationwide.

Monitoring cameras were installed at both ends of the animal pathway to record its usage.

On the 16th day after installation, the first animal to cross the pathway was the Japanese dormouse. The following day, the Japanese squirrel also safely passed through. The utilization of these two species on the pathway reached triple digits within a single summer, indicating that the existence of the pathway was recognized.

Although the usage of the pathway by Japanese chipmunks was confirmed in the experimental pathway, as of April 2009, it had not been observed on the first public road pathway.

Opinions from squirrel researchers and others will be sought to make improvements based on the conditions around the pathway.

Furthermore, based on the results of the first public road pathway, detailed verification is necessary regarding the selection of installation locations, construction of the pathways, and operation of the monitoring system. Specifications will be compiled accordingly.

When promoting the animal pathway to local governments, it would be beneficial to propose specific examples of cooperation with citizens, local volunteer organizations, and private companies in the community.

Future challenges

Further initiatives

  • Site selection
  • Structural design
  • Monitoring system design, etc