Fences in Protected Areas — No Easy Solutions

Shreeram M V

Shreeram M V

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

This haunting image of a 'crucified' flying squirrel from the Agumbe rainforest reveals the unfortunate and unintended consequence of using fences in protected areas.

Fences are meant to protect forests from encroachment. Sometimes, however, they can prove fatal for the very animals that they are in place for. An Indian Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista philippensis) is caught in one such fence near Agumbe (Shimoga district) in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.

This is a popular tourism spot that is also part of the rainforest. The fences were erected to protect the rainforest – to stop people from trespassing into the forest and to prevent grazing. An unfortunate consequence of this can be seen in this photograph.

Indian Giant Flying Squirrels are among the two flying squirrel species found in the Western Ghats, the other being the Travancore Flying Squirrel. They are nocturnal arboreal mammals that glide from tree to tree with the help of a patagium (a furry membrane that extends from wrist to ankle).

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About the author

Shreeram M V

The author is a Bangalore-based naturalist and professional wildlife photographer.


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