by G Veeresh
In the last two days, various wildlife species – a leopard cat, a palm civet and a sloth bear have been killed on interior roads and national highways of Karnataka, India. Road kills are on the rise in various parts of India as many highways crisscrossing national parks and wildlife sanctuaries report wildlife deaths caused due to rash driving and speeding vehicles. A Leopard cat died in Kollibyailu village, Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru district when it was reportedly hit by an unidentified vehicle on Saturday while it was crossing an interior road near Bilagula. In Mysuru district, a palm civet cat was killed on Yelethota Road near Mysuru city on Friday night. Sloth Bear dies in Ayanuur Forests In Shivamogga district, a 12-14 year old female sloth bear died on Friday night when it was hit by a speeding vehicle between Kumsi and Ayanuur. The incident occurred on NH-206 that traverses the Kempinakoppa Minor Forest, Ayanuur forest limits. The bear weighing 80-100 kilogram is reported to have been hit or run over by a heavy vehicle during the night. Incidents of wildlife kills are quite common here as the Shivamogga-Ayanuur stretch adjoining the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary sees frequent wildlife movement. Further, the 70 KM long single forest patch of Kumsi is an established wildlife corridor with tigers, leopards and bears using this corridor frequently.
Rising Wildlife Kills Just in a span of 48 hours, three different incidents have occurred even as many incidents of small mammals, reptiles and amphibians dying on roads are increasing day by day. They usually go unreported as they are small animals.
Highways in national parks and sanctuary areas of India are a big threat to wildlife species like snakes, hares, cats, and sometimes even big mammals like tigers and leopards. Road kills nowadays are even seeing the death of bears and elephants. There is an urgent need to take preventive measures in the highways adjacent to national park and sanctuaries as also make road users sensitive to the needs of moving wildlife. Curbing Vehicular Speeds It is high time the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as also the state transport department fixed a low speed level within 30 kilometer range of tiger reserves, national park and sanctuaries. In Kudremukh National Park limits, the Kerrekatte-Sringeri Road has seen many road kills of reptiles and the endangered lion tailed macaques. Not just Chikkamagaluru, the Shivamogga-Sharavathi Valley, Mookambika and Agumbe forests and the Anshi and Dandelli tiger reserve, wildlife kills have become common in road accidents. The need for enforcement of speed for vehicles below 30 km in sensitive areas and roads for all types of vehicles be it private or tourist vehicles becomes mandatory now.