Red Fox and Langur Road Kill on Nainital-Kaladhungi Roadby Bivash Pandav
Chosen as Picture of the Week
Cars and trucks kill wild animals in India on roads that run through precious protected areas. Wild animal road kills may be an accepted part of road travel in many western countries, where the only predator is man (and his infrastructure and machines). But in India, where nature itself keeps the ecosystem in delicate balance, many roads need to be shifted out of the remaining fragmented pockets of wild preserves to protect the country’s dwindling wildlife.
While returning from Nainital in November 2010, I came across these road kills. The langur was first killed by a vehicle. Some time in the night, while a red fox mother with her grown up pup (a female) were presumably scavenging on the kill, they met with the same fate as the langur. I took this photograph early in the morning on the Nainital-Kaladhungi road that used to be a bridleway until three or four decades ago. There are several accounts of it in Jim Corbett’s writings. When Corbett was a young boy he used to go back and forth on this path from his family’s summer home in Nainital to their winter home in Kaladhungi.
I sent this picture to Conservation India, after reading the article on Conservation Photography
Editor’s note: What we can infer from this picture is that big road kills on forest roads should be moved away from the road as soon as possible so that they don’t result in more animals dying. However, all care should be exercised while doing this so that the ‘rescuers’ are not themselves mowed down by speeding vehicles — something that can happen all too easily on our indisciplined roads. Bottom line: only do it if it can be done safely without endangering your own life! Also wild animals may carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, so handling carcasses with bare hands would not be a good idea.