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 pair of Amboli toads (Xanthophryne tigerina), a critically endangered endemic species found only in the Western Ghats around Amboli in Maharastra. These were in amplexus (mating position), and possibly run over by a speeding vehicle. Would it help to implement strict speed controls by installing more speed bumps, in order to reduce road kills?
The Amboli toad was described as a new species only in 2009. Listed as Critically Endangered because its area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be less than 10 km², and its extent of occurrence (EOO) less than 100 km². All individuals are in a single location, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of their habitat and in the number of mature individuals.
Source: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2011.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
No species of animal is safe from speeding vehicles, particularly those that ply on roads that pass through natural habitats. While larger animals may learn to avoid roads or find the safest ways to cross them, smaller species are even more vulnerable.