The recent roadkill of a gaur on the busy Coimbatore – Mannarkkad Road via Anaikatti has forced the Forest Department to ask the Highways Department to take measures to protect wild animals from getting knocked down by speeding vehicles along the interstate route.
District Forest Officer N. Jayaraj told The Hindu the Department would write to the Highways, requesting to adopt measures to avoid accidents involving speeding vehicles and wild animals.
On August 26 evening, a speeding truck fatally knocked down an adult gaur on the interstate road near the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (Sacon).
The driver of the truck was booked for the offence and he was remanded for killing the gaur that is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“This is not the first instance of an animal getting hit by speeding vehicles on the road. There needs to be some measures to regulate the speed of vehicles,” added Mr. Jayaraj.
The road passing via the Anaikatti ghat section that comes under the Coimbatore forest range is home to a large number of animals including elephant, gaur, deer and sloth bear, and a wide range of birds and butterflies. The ghat section has seen an increase in vehicular movement in the recent past, after vloggers and riders’ groups stared publishing travel videos of the scenic route.
Assistant Conservator of Forests M. Senthil Kumar said the Department has proposed to seek the Highways Department to install rumble strips, speed breakers and caution boards on the road.
“These types of safety measures are necessary because there is no regulation of vehicular movement through the forest at night on the interstate route. Motorists are advised to drive very cautiously as animal crossing is very common on the stretch,” he said.
The Forest Department has also warned of appropriate action against people who stop vehicles on the forest route, take photos of animals and disturb them or trespass into the protected areas.