Desert Fox Pays the Price of a Smoother Road


Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Another casualty of good roads and speeding vehicles. Roads through or adjoining protected areas are deadly for wildlife, with collisions with vehicles claiming the lives of thousands of small and large animals every year.

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 are located in the proximity of the mega-highway passing through the region.

This region is also rich with other species of wildlife such as blackbuck and nilgai that cross the highway regularly to visit crop fields on the other side. All are threatened by the traffic on the highway. Good roads are an opportunity to drive faster, but often result in the loss of precious wildlife.

Although it is difficult to get reliable statistics on roadkills, it is clear that the threat is growing due to the denser road network existing today, with ever-increasing traffic both by day and by night. Signboards are quite inadequate, and proper site-specific mitigation measures are urgently needed across the country, wherever wildlife and traffic intersect.

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