From Killer Roads to Humane Highways

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A 17-minute conservation film on the impact of roads and highways on wildlife.

The rapid expansion of roads and highways through Protected Areas and corridors is one of the most serious threats facing India’s wildlife today.

In this context, we are pleased to announce the release of a powerful conservation film on this topic by wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri.

‘From Killer Roads to Humane Highways’ addresses the adverse impacts of roads and highways on wildlife, and showcases some … Read More

Langur Roadkill, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

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We were on an evening safari at Nagarahole national park on 9th June 2018. Because of incessant rains we had little wildlife sightings and decided to return when the downpour got heavy. We had reached the tarmac road connecting Mysuru (Mysore) to Kerala (State highway 33) and our driver stopped the safari vehicle. I was aghast to see the sight of a mother and baby langur lying on the road. I realized that the langurs had been tragically runover by … Read More

Roadkills: A Citizen Science Initiative

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Roadkills: A Citizen Science Initiative: For win-win solutions to minimise wild animal deaths along roads, irrigation canals and railway lines.

Roadkills is a Citizen Science Initiative to collect data on mortality of wild animals on roads, irrigation canals or railway lines in India.

This Citizen Science Project endeavours to engage with concerned citizens across the country. We hope that the data collected will be useful to researchers and infrastructure planners across the country to help in reducing wildlife mortality, install … Read More

Observation on Roadkills in Dudhwa National Park

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This picture highlights roadkill of a Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) observed inside Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh. The metal road that lies on the Indo-Nepal border is about 26 km long from Dudhwa gate to Gauri Phanta (Last village on India’s side) and is open to vehicular traffic from approximately 6 am to 7 pm. The road is quite busy during the day with large transport trucks, tempos and buses crossing the International border from either side.

During our … Read More

Leopard Roadkill, Demow, Assam

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The NH-37 from Guwahati to Tinsukia in Assam weaves through some really magnificent Terai forests and grasslands in the Brahmaputra floodplains. It is also a highly populated landscape. I was driving overnight on NH37 on 28th February 2015 to Tinsukia. Around midnight, near Demow, in Sibsagar District, I saw a small gathering on the road and I assumed that there had been an accident. It was indeed an accident but of a different nature. It was a roadkill of a … Read More

Q: My question is about the roads which are shut during the night time in Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks in Karnataka, why can’t we shut these roads completely? I know there was a great struggle to even shut these roads during night time. But with the will and constant fight against the evil powers, your case study has shown how it can be handled. Alternate roads can be developed far away from forest range easily if Government has the willingness to do so. I have left my comment below your case study as well, please advice whether my words make sense or not.

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Managing Trustee, Wildlife First:

Your comment on developing alternative alignments to roads that cut through Wildlife Reserves is valid. A lot of effort has been put in by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to address this issue. There have been many interventions by Courts as well. So, we are moving forward but we cannot completely close down roads/highways since that would antagonise society, which will lead to the loss of public support for conservation. … Read More

Tiger and a plastic bottle, Bandipur

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I saw this young tigress in Bandipur with a plastic bottle near its feet.

In spite of a nighttime traffic closure (see CI casestudy), the Ooty-Mysore highway (NH 67) through Bandipur Tiger Reserve causes serious disturbances to wildlife. Tourists and passersby are always stopping by the road to look at wild animals or disturbing them like feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking and, not the least, speeding.

Hoever, what disturbed me most was this plastic … Read More

Hog Deer Roadkill

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The mauled remains of a hog deer lie on National Highway 37 that forms the southern boundary of Kaziranga National Park. Animals fleeing the rising waters of the Brahmaputra during monsoon floods face the daunting task of crossing the busy Highway in order to reach the Karbi Anglong hills. The Highway is one of the serious threats to conservation in the Kaziranga landscape. The least that can be done immediately is to implement a ban on night-traffic, something that has … Read More

Morning Rush, Nagarahole

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The Mysore-Mananthavadi road passes right through the Nagarahole National Park. This particular stretch of the road is quite smooth and most vehicles zip across, at good speeds. People who have visited this park have seen a lot of wildlife around this stretch and know how dangerous it is when so many vehicles drive past every day.

This image is the last elephant of a herd that crossed the road one evening inside Nagarahole National Park, as safari jeeps and regular … Read More

Bull Gaur Crossing Road, Nagarahole

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This image was taken on Tithimathi – Konnankatte road in the heart of Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka. The state transport bus driver was considerate and stopped the bus upon seeing the herd of gaur. The gaur were quite shy and hurried across the road. The bull in the frame was the last one to cross the road.

Highways and roads through protected areas can have a serious impact on wildlife behavior, survival and movement. This is especially true for … Read More

Tiger Roadkill, NH 212, Bandipur 2003

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This tiger was killed by a speeding vehicle on the Gundlupet – Sulthan Bathery road (NH 212) in 2003.

Two major National Highways pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve – NH-67 (Gundlupet – Ooty Road) and NH 212 (Gundlupet – Sultan Batthery Road) – and both experience heavy traffic. The traffic on NH-67 is largely tourists plying from Karnataka to the hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. While on NH 212 there is heavy passenger and truck traffic plying to … Read More

Elephant Crossing, Bandipur

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An elephant herd crossing the road (NH 67, Gundlupet – Ooty) in Bandipur National Park after a patient wait. Ironically, even inside a protected area, these animals don’t seem to have right of way inspite of the carefully placed boards near crossings animals prefer. A group of ill-informed motorcyclists were off their vehicles trying to take pictures of the herd which had lined up to cross the road. Soon many vehicles crowded the road stopping traffic and preventing the elephants … Read More

Environment Ministry Seeks Restoration of Night Traffic on Highways Through Bandipur

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The Karnataka High Court had banned night traffic, between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM, through the two national highways that cut through Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The Karnataka Forest Department had provided evidence that wildlife including elephants and tigers were being regularly killed after being run over by vehicles and were also being driven out of the forest due to sound and light disturbance. Based on these evidences, the High Court had passed the order. However, the Ministry … Read More

Closing Highways to Night Traffic — A Case Study From Karnataka

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This Conservation India exclusive by Sanjay Gubbi, Assistant Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Member, State Board for Wildlife, Karnataka, highlights the conservation threat posed by roads and highways through PAs, showcases successful night closures of two major highways running through Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and provides tips and inspiration for road closures in other protected areas.

Background: Impacts of roads on wildlife

India is in a phase of rapid infrastructural growth where improving the surface transport system is … Read More

Proposal for Ring Road in Gir To Divert Traffic From Lion Habitats

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The Gujarat State government has sent a proposal to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for constructing a ring road around Gir National Park. The proposed 269-km road will connect villages on the periphery of Gir. Currently, around six state highways and other minor roads cut through Gir. There have been incidents where vehicular traffic caused accidental lion deaths as well as incidents of the inner roads being used for poaching. The ring road proposal includes 14 flyovers and … Read More

Gujarat Pushes Centre for Assistance Towards Lion Conservation

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The Gujarat government has asked for central assistance in implementing two projects towards Lion Conservation in Gir — Asiatic lions’ only abode. The state government has submitted a proposal for “The long term conservation of lions on Brhuhad Gir” with an estimated cost of Rs 262.36 crores. This proposal includes strengthening protection, habitat development, wild life health care, minimizing man animal conflicts, eco development work, use of modern technology, public awareness and eco tourism. A second proposal is to build … Read More

Leopard Crossing, Mysore — Mananthavadi Highway, Nagarahole

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A leopard tentatively crosses the Mysore – Mananthavadi highway in Nagarahole national park and tiger reserve in Karnataka. Based on the fact that this road passes through an extremely crucial habitat for elephants and tigers and number of tragic roadkills, conservationists filed an application to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court to close the road to nighttime traffic.

The CEC on 05-05-2008 concluded that no vehicular traffic be permitted between 6pm and 6am apart from other mitigation … Read More

Book Review — Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife, and Habitat Connectivity

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Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife, and Habitat Connectivity edited by Jon P. Beckmann, Anthony P. Clevenger, Marcel P. Huijser & Jodi A. Hilty (2010), xix + 396 pp., Island Press, Washington, DC, USA. ISBN 9781597266543 (pbk), USD 40.00; 9781597266536 (hbk), USD 70.00.

Several tropical, biodiversity rich nations are going through rapid economic growth bringing welcome benefits including infrastructure development. One of the key sectors of infrastructural growth is building of vast network of roads or road expansion projects. However these benefits … Read More

Elephant Calf Roadkill, NH-212, Bandipur 2003

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Two highways pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve. NH-67 (Gundlupet-Ooty Road) and NH-212 (Gundlupet-Sultan Batthery Road) and both those highways experience heavy traffic. The traffic on NH-67 is typically tourist traffic from Karnataka to the hill resort of Ooty, while on NH 212 there is heavy passenger and truck traffic plying to northern Kerala.

Due to speeding vehicles several animals mostly chital, nocturnal animals such as civets, black-naped hare, mouse deer were killed in large numbers. Roadkills shockingly included the illustrated … Read More

Gir Sanctuary Roads to be Closed During Nights

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The Gujarat forest and environment department has banned entry of vehicles on the roads passing through Gir National Park and Sanctuary, the last abode of Asiatic Lions, at night.

The move by the forest department will give a much needed relief to the wildlife in the Gir as about 10 important roads pass through the sanctuary. This step will decrease the risk of accident to animals and also save it from disturbance and noise pollution.… Read More