The Noida authority on Monday said it has decided to build an animal bridge in Sector 91 to connect the flora and fauna of this region. This will be part of the 144 acres of green area that the authority is developing, encompassing 32 acres of green belt, 75 acres of the biodiversity park, 25 acres of the medicinal park and 12 acres of a natural wetland. The project is touted as the biggest endeavour yet to showcase the city’s flora and fauna, particularly for the benefit of wildlife lovers.Officials said the animal bridge will be developed on the lines of the ones developed in Europe and the USA.“We are committed to preserving the environment, and flora and fauna of the region. We have 144 acres of rich green expanse in Sector 91. These 144 acres will become the city’s biggest oxygen bank,” Rajeev Tyagi, general manager, Noida authority, said.“Now we have also decided to develop an animal bridge, which will be the first of its kind in the country. The motive is to protect wildlife and help animals move safely from one park to the other via the bridge,” he said.The four green areas are divided into two zones by a culvert built across a drain that passes through this area.The green belt and biodiversity park are on one side, while the medicinal park and natural wetland are located on the other side of the culvert.“The animal bridge is also known as a wildlife crossing, in the broadest terms, and can include underpass tunnels, viaducts, overpasses, culverts and green roofs. We are yet to finalise the design and structural details. But as of now, we are planning to put soil on culvert to grow plants that will help in beautifying it and making it green,” said Tyagi.“There is an existing unused walking bridge over the culvert, which will be developed as animal bridge for the wild life use to easily travel from one green area to another. We will prepare the estimates soon and start work on the project,” he said.This area is home to the Asian antelope, also known as Nilgai, a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act of India.The green space is also home to reptiles, wild lizards, brown Indian hare, mongoose, peacocks and is frequented by numerous species of migratory birds.It also has many species of butterflies, dragonflies and insects along with frogs and fish and other aquatic creatures.The Nilgai, reptiles, wild lizards, brown Indian hare, mongoose, peacocks are expected to use the animal bridge, officials said.The animal bridge will be approximately 40 metres long with 4 metres width, said Tyagi.The area is also inhabited by wetland birds such as the common moorhen, black ibis, black headed ibis, black winged stilt, cattle egret, white breasted waterhen, Indian pond heron, white throated kingfisher, night heron, little grebe, little cormorant among others.Black headed ibis is a near threatened species and its presence has brought joy to the bird watchers.The authority does not have a data of accidents that occur due to animals crossing across highways.But officials said there were reports of Nilgai being involved in accidents while crossing the roads.“The bridge will also assist in avoiding collisions between vehicles and animals, which in addition to killing or injuring wildlife may also cause injury to humans and property,” Tyagi said.The authority is expected to develop the animal bridge in the next two months and it is yet to make an estimate of the budget to be spent on this project.Vikrant Tongad, environmentalist, said, “We appreciate the authority’s plan of building an animal bridge to connect four green areas as it will benefit the wildlife. But the need of the hour is to develop more and more city forests so that wildlife do not abandon this area.”“We first need to protect forests or create new ones so that wildlife stay in the city,”the environmentalist added.