• Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Footbridges only for monkeys

The Telegraph Online

A colony of 500 rhesus monkeys will soon be able to cross between two Chinese mountains using a pair of footbridges.

The monkeys, who live in a nature reserve at Taihang mountain in Henan province, will be divided later this year by a new 12 mile-long water reservoir.

More than 3,000 Chinese villagers have already been moved out of the area in order to accommodate the reservoir, receiving a total of £900,000 in compensation for their flooded homes.

But the local government will now spend more than half as much again - another £500,000 - on two footbridges so that the monkeys can move freely around their habitat.

"The bridges are just for the monkeys, no humans allowed," said Wang Xiangdong, a director at the nature reserve.

Asked whether he thought the monkeys would actually use the 800ft-long bridges, Wang said they would monitor the situation. "Every animal has its own habits," he said. "All we can do is offer them a channel."

Wang said the bridges were only part of the monkey protection plan, which also included constant patrols of the area and monitoring by experts.

"We hired a professional design company to build the bridges. The bridges can bear the weight of 150 monkeys at a time, and will be at least 30ft above the water at their lowest point," he said.

"We have decided on a very humane initiative. I could not say what would happen to the monkeys if we had not decided to build the bridges. We just want to minimise the impact of the reservoir on the lives of the monkeys."

Published: 12:01 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

Last modified: 9:14 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

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