Roads. Possibly the most common habitat in India today. On March 31, 2018, India had 6,603,293km of roads or 1.70km of roads per square kilometre of area (according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways). It is the second largest road network in the world. Unfortunately, the most common habitat is very often not the refuge of the living. Roads take away crucial habitat from wildlife, often planned at the expense of our biodiversity-rich forests and countryside. They also double up as killing fields for wildlife. Over the years, I’ve seen a variety of road-kills – cats, snakes, amphibians, butterflies, tortoises, even owls. I came across two instances of roadkill in September-October 2017 — this unfortunate Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) near Mandya on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and an Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) near Kadakola on the Mysore-Nanjangud highway (not depicted here). So, what can you do? Next time you drive on a highway, please limit your speed and keep an eye out for any wildlife attempting to cross the road. Remember – speed kills.
Roads to prosperity? Not for the Jackal.
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Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Roadkills are not pleasant to look at, but it is time we faced this problem head on. Mitigation measures need to be adopted on a war footing at least inside PAs that have roads running through them.