Wildlife activists have stressed on the need to ban night vehicular movement on the stretch of Sindhanoor-Hemmadaga State Highway passing through Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary of Khanapur taluk.
Activists says mitigation measures are required on the roads passing through protected forest areas where realignment was not possible.
While mortalities of large animals were reported, the smaller wildlife such as langur and civet cat go unnoticed. If the headcount of other reptiles and amphibians are added, the number would be dismal. Death toll of common langurs have, unfortunately, become too common on most of the highways, the activists say.
Nine gaur, chital deer and jackal, are among the animals that were crushed by speeding vehicles passing through Khanapur forests over the past five years. A gaur (Indian Bison) killed was near Kanakumbi on the Belagavi-Chorla State Highway last year. Recently, another gaur was mowed down by an unidentified vehicle on NH4A. State Highway 34 (Alnavar-Ramnagar), which passes through Nagargali forest has seen the deaths of several chital deer.
A national and four State highways pass through wildlife habitats in the region. The Sindhanoor-Hemmadaga State Highway (SH-30) passes through the heart of Bhimgad sanctuary and the widening of NH4A is on the cards.
Giridhar Kulkarni of Kanana Wildlife Conservation Organisation here, engaged in wildlife studies in the Belagavi forest division, says the Forest Department could take a leaf out of the Bandipur National Park’s success story to impose night traffic restrictions through the Sindhanoor-Hemmadaga State Highway, as there was already an alternative route via NH 4A. Sign boards warning drivers across all the roads in forest areas could also be installed, he said.
Recently, a subcommittee appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has recommended that night traffic ban should be initiated and applied in the Core Critical Tiger Habitats, National Parks and Sanctuaries. It also mentioned that night passes may be provided for villagers/communities living within the Protected Areas so that the ban did not impact the residents.