Palm Civet Roadkill, Bhimashankar, Maharashtra

Nikhil More
Nikhil More

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Unregulated influx of pilgrims or tourists is a major challenge in many protected areas. Clearly, such large numbers of people and vehicles need to be regulated. There have been efforts at such regulation in some places, but so much more remains to be done.

This haunting image of a dead Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) was taken on the main road to Bhimashankar temple. We sighted this otherwise nocturnal creature first thing in the morning in this sad state, likely killed by a speeding vehicle at night. Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirling shrine (a major site of worship for Lord Shiva; one of 12 in the country) located in the Sahyadri hills near Pune, in Maharashtra.

Also a wildlife sanctuary, Bhimashankar gets very crowded seasonally due to pilgrim traffic. Technically the road is closed after sunset, but since it is a popular religious spot, devotees come in hordes at night also.

Unregulated influx of pilgrims or tourists is a major challenge in many protected areas in India. In some cases, thousands of pilgrims camp in the forest for several days during specific festivals leaving a major footprint in terms of solid waste and sanitation. Clearly, such large numbers of people and vehicles need to be regulated. There have been efforts at such regulation in some places including Gomukh in Gangotri NP, Sabarimala in Periyar Tiger Reserve, as well as Bhimashankar Sanctuary, but so much more remains to be done.

Read: Religious Festivals Inside Protected Areas

About the author

Nikhil More

Nikhil is a Pune-based project researcher for the Center for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.



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