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

Amboli Toad Roadkill, Amboli Ghat, Maharashtra

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One of the major factors affecting faunal survival is our road network. Road kills are documented widely and affect all taxonomic groups, especially in protected areas. Animals don’t recognise a road as a hazard. Often, the road might have cut through a continuous patch of forest, and animals will have to cross these man-made roads in search of food, mates and other resources, like water.

On a recent trip while driving on the Amboli ghat road, we came across this … 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

Roads to prosperity? Not for the Jackal.

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Roads. Possibly the most common habitat in India today. On March 31, 2018, India had 6,603,293km of roads or 1.70km of roads per square kilometre of area (according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways). It is the second largest road network in the world. Unfortunately, the most common habitat is very often not the refuge of the living. Roads take away crucial habitat from wildlife, often planned at the expense of our biodiversity-rich forests and countryside. They also … Read More

Bor Tiger Reserve’s Dominant Male (T2) Road-killed on NH-6

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During the night of 29-Dec-2017, an adult male tiger T2 from Bor Tiger Reserve fell prey to the killer highway NH-6 that cuts the vital corridor between Bor and Melghat Tiger Reserves in Maharashtra. Despite repeated appeals by conservationists no mitigation structures were built on the highway. Read TOI Nagpur report on the incident. T2, King of Bor (affectionately known as Bajirao), was about 8-years old and in his prime. He often shuttled between Bor and Kalmeshwar, which is … 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

Another One Bites the Dust — Pangolin Roadkill, Davangere, Karnataka

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I was riding back from Karwar to Bangalore, when, 30 Kms before Davangere, on NH4 (Now NH48), at around 8:30 a.m., I saw a man standing on the roadside staring at something. At first I passed it off as a log of wood, but as I got closer, I realized that it was the carcass of a pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). The animal had visibly damaged scales on its right shoulders and a bleeding right paw. One of its … Read More

Going Nowhere? Roads and Conservation in India

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The ongoing controversy about widening National Highway 7 (NH7) has highlighted the inevitable trade-offs in conservation and development. Conservation groups and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have been at logger-heads. The former contend that widening the parts of NH7 that pass through Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves will further fragment an important wildlife refuge and corridor. NHAI opposed the high costs of wildlife-friendly mitigation measures, and agreed to build underpasses and overlays only after the Supreme Court’s intervention. Nonetheless, … Read More

Desert Fox Pays the Price of a Smoother Road

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This Desert Fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) roadkill, was photographed on November 4, 2017, on the way to village Charwas, one km from the forest guest house of Tal Chhapar Blackbuck Sanctuary. This road was renovated a year back.

A healthy population exists of both desert and Indian foxes in the Guashala region of Chhapar. The desert fox, also known as the white-footed fox, can be identified by the dark upper-half behind the left ear and white-tipped tail. Many fox dens … Read More

Tahr Alert in Tamil Nadu

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The Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) is an endangered ungulate found on remote mountain slopes in the southern Western Ghats. Found in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, their current range has been greatly reduced to a mere 400 kilometers. These animals are found among the rocky cliffs of montane grasslands, and it is estimated that around 3000 individuals are distributed evenly between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Eravikulam National Park and the grassy slopes of the Anamalai hills are the only … Read More

Palm Civet Roadkill, Bhimashankar, Maharashtra

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This haunting image of a dead Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) was taken on the main road to Bhimashankar temple. We sighted this otherwise nocturnal creature first thing in the morning in this sad state, likely killed by a speeding vehicle at night. Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirling shrine (a major site of worship for Lord Shiva; one of 12 in the country) located in the Sahyadri hills near Pune, in Maharashtra.

Also a wildlife sanctuary, Bhimashankar gets very crowded seasonally … Read More

Gaur Crossing, Beware!

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As though to justify a road-side sign warning vehicles to go slow, an Indian gaur crosses the road in front of a motorcyclist. This image was taken late in the evening on the outskirts of Valparai, Tamil Nadu.

Valparai has vast tracts of tea estates that are surrounded by forests. As the day comes to an end, gaur move from the forest patches to graze on the grass growing within tea estates. This is the time at which they are … Read More

Tahr on the Road!

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Further to the ‘Tahr alert in Tamil Nadu’ Featured Photo, CI reader, Pravin Shanmughanandam, has sent us another image taken recently on the Pollachi – Valparai highway in Tamilnadu. He says that all along the 40-km stretch that cuts through prime forests, tourists get down at various places, without much monitoring.  According to him, from the 5th to the 11th hairpin bends, where Nilgiri Tahr and Bonnet Macaques thrive, tourists approach them at close quarters and cause disturbance. This sometimes … 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

Book Review: The Handbook of Road Ecology

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Title: The Handbook of Road Ecology

Editors: Rodney van der Ree; Daniel Smith and Clara Grilo

Summary:

Linear infrastructure, such as roads, railways, power lines, pipelines, tracks and trails and the vehicles that travel on them are critical to supporting economic growth and development. However, the ecological impacts of linear infrastructure and vehicles can be massive, and usually negative. These impacts include habitat loss, fragmentation of habitats and populations, mortality of wildlife due to collision with vehicles, … 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

Flamingo City in Peril

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An edited form of this article appeared in the February 16, 2015 issue of the Outlook magazine.

The unique natural heritage of the Great Rann of Kutch that Amitabh Bachchan promotes in the slick Gujarat Tourism commercials, is imperiled, ironically by a proposed road said to promote tourism.

Among the 130-odd projects that the new National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) cleared in its controversial first meeting in August last year, is a road that cuts through the Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary … Read More

National Highway through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a death trap for animals

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Urgent Action Needed!

Effective speed control measures to reduce wildlife road kills needed immediately as per locations suggested in report (download).

This report has been submitted to the Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests Department, Tamil Nadu and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Tamil Nadu Forest Department for action.

Summary

  1. The National Highway (NH209) passing through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary poses a grave threat to wildlife.
  2. The extent of the road within the sanctuary is
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Desert Fox and Salt Truck, Rann of Kutch

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This image is about how we as consumers are putting pressure on wildlife and wildlife habitats. This Desert Fox was photographed at the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) near Patdi village in Gujarat, which is said to produce a significant chunk of India’s salt. This salt also gets exported to other countries. The Rann is one of the most vibrant desert ecosystems in the world, supporting a large number of birds and mammals. This pup belongs to a den just … Read More

Roads Emerging as a Critical Threat to Leopards in India?

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This article originally appeared in Cat News 60 – Spring 2014 issue.

Leopards (Panthera pardus) face severe threats from poaching, loss of habitat and killing in retaliation to conflict. However, in India a new threat appears to be emerging in the form of vehicle accident mortalities. In the past 60 months 23 leopards have been recorded as killed due to road accidents in the southern Indian state of Karnataka alone. When roads overlap with important wildlife habitats, considerable … Read More

Elephant Conflict, Odisha

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Human-elephant conflict is turning increasingly acute across elephant range in India. Relentless diversion of elephant habitats, loss of forest corridors that offer safe passage to migrating elephants, activities such as mining, construction of canals, railway tracks and highways that fragment forests, and even the ill-designed plantation of unpalatable trees in natural forests are together creating a deadly situation where direct, extremely volatile face offs between people and elephants have become a matter of routine. The loss of human life and … Read More

Elephants and Dhole, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!

As this road … 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

Failed to escape

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The Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) is an elusive nocturnal rodent. It is covered in multiple layers of quills. The longest ones grow from its shoulders to about a third of its length. Its tail is covered in short, hollow quills that it rattles when threatened.  When attacked, it raises its quills and rattles the hollow tail quills. If the predator still persists, the porcupine launches a backwards assault, hoping to stab its attacker with its quills. It does … Read More

Leopard Road Kill, MM Hills

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A young male leopard was victim of being run over at night by a speeding vehicle on 5th January, 2013. This happened on the Konanakere-Talubetta Road near the foothills of MM Hills.

Related media coverage about the incident.

Roads and highways through protected areas pose a severe conservation threat. In Karnataka, 9 of the 15 national highways pass through important wildlife habitats in the Western Ghats, while 28 state highways (out of 151) pass through the Ghats. The primary challenge … Read More