Bull Gaur Crossing Road, Nagarahole

Suresh Basavaraju

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 ecologically sensitive large species. The most serious impact are the wildlife deaths caused by speeding vehicles. Such unnatural mortalities can have affect an entire population through loss of breeding individuals.

Take the case of 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 to nighttime road closures are from vested interests and lobby groups involved in nefarious activities such as timber smuggling, wildlife poaching, sandmining and illegal movement of livestock.

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