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 most at risk of being hit by vehicles. This gaur was waiting on the road side to cross. The rest of its herd had already crossed. After sometime, she leapt on to the road and ran across, startling the motorcyclist.
In India, the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) specifically prescribes regulation and mitigation measures for threats posed by roads. However there have been few serious attempts to implement the policy on-ground.
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Animals crossing the road pose a danger to themselves and road users. Since motorists pay scant regard to signs warning them, other measures such as rumble strips, and over-passes or under-passes in known animal crossing sites would help keep wildlife and humans safer.