Tamil Nadu

Speed breakers installed at eight elephant crossing points in the Nilgiris  

The measure will minimise the deaths of wild elephants, says environmentalists.

The measure will minimise the deaths of wild elephants, says environmentalists.

Speed breakers have been installed along the National Highway connecting Mettupalayam to Coonoor and Udhagamandalam to minimise the chances of vehicles colliding with elephants and other wildlife.

According to sources in the Forest Department, the speed breakers had been installed after the Madras High Court judges visited the Nilgiris on seeing videos of a herd of elephants finding it difficult to cross the road along the Coonoor ghat.

The judges had made recommendations to the National Highways wing to implement a series of measures to protect elephants and ease movement along the Kallar corridor and the Coonoor ghat. Numerous constructions along the highway, and also by the Salem division of the Southern Railway along the Coonoor ghat had hindered elephants using the landscape.

Forest Department officials said they had identified nine crossing points used by elephants along the Coonoor ghat road which intersect with the highway. “Based on the recommendations of the judges from the High Court, the National Highways wing has undertaken work at eight locations, and have constructed 16 speed breakers,” said an official from the Nilgiris forest division.

Two more speed breakers had to be constructed. However, work had been delayed due to road expansion work at the site, officials said. “Once the road expansion work is completed, the speed breakers would be constructed there as well, bringing the total number of speed breakers to 18,” said an official from the National Highways wing.

Conservationists welcomed the move, stating that the speed breakers would ensure that vehicles posed less risk to elephants. “The Coonoor ghat is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including slender loris. In the past, there have been recorded incidents where such animals have been hit by speeding vehicles and killed. This could bring down the number of such incidents,” said N. Sadiq Ali, founder, Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust.

In a study published in the International Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology, authors R. Deepan, B. Vickram, A. Samson, S. Dilip Clinton and J. Leona Princy, recorded the number of animals killed by vehicles between Coonoor and Mettupalayam, a 55-km stretch during August of 2017 and August of 2018 along the Kotagiri Road, an alternative route connecting Mettupalayam to Udhagamandalam. In the study, the researchers recorded 383 roadkills on just 36 sampling days.

Conservationists stated that the National Highways wing should also install more speed breakers along the Kotagiri Road to further minimise deaths of native wildlife.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 4:13:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/speed-breakers-installed-at-eight-elephant-crossing-points-in-the-nilgiris/article65381100.ece