Karnataka

With ban on night traffic, Bandipur road kills down

There is a significant reduction in the number of road kills in Bandipur ever since the ban on night traffic through the tiger reserve was introduced in 2009.

There were as many as 93 wildlife deaths from 2004 to 2009 before the ban on night traffic on the two national highways cutting through the tiger reserve — one connecting Gundlupet and Wayanad, and the other connecting Gundlupet and Ooty — was introduced.

The number declined to 34 between 2010 and 2018 once the ban came into effect, as per the statistics maintained by the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

Ambadi Madhav, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said there were as many as 32 deaths in 2004, which increased to 41 in 2007. But once the ban on night traffic came into effect, there was a steady decline in the number of animals being killed by speeding vehicles, he said. Statistics indicate that eight animals have died in the last four years and only one death was reported in 2016.

“Before the introduction of night traffic ban, there were instances of mega carnivores and elephants being killed by the vehicles. But it is no longer the case ever since the introduction of the ban, and most deaths pertain to the spotted deer that are found in plenty,” said Mr. Madhav.

The year 2004 was the worst as far as road kill was concerned: an elephant was mowed down by a speeding vehicle while other animals classified as highly endangered, such as palm civet, jungle cat, leopard, tiger, and sloth bears too died under similar circumstances.

Case in SC

Traffic has been banned through the tiger reserve from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. following a directive issued by the Chamarajanagar district administration in 2009. This was challenged in the High Court of Karnataka, which upheld the decision and the issue is now pending before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had directed that a committee comprising officials from the Transport Department of Karnataka and Kerala and the Centre, apart from representatives of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), be constituted to study the issue.

Mr. Madhav said the committee members visited Bandipur three months ago and conducted an inspection.

P. Sridhar, PCCF (Head of Forest Force), said the State was firm on maintaining night traffic ban through Bandipur in the interest of wildlife conservation. “We have already conveyed our stance to the apex court which is hearing a petition filed by Kerala and stakeholders from the transport sector. Even the NTCA was supportive of our actions,” he added.


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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 9:22:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/with-ban-on-night-traffic-bandipur-road-kills-down/article24507125.ece

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