Fatal road kills are avoidable sacrifices that wildlife makes
Feb 20 2013
However, on road trips till date, I have seen many animals been killed due to road accidents. The overall data collection is intimidating and includes even big animals like sloth bears, leopards, other wild cats, hyena, jackals in addition to small creatures such as snakes, monitor lizards and uncountable frogs and toads.
Can we reduce this number or do we have to accept this reality? Some specialist suggested few ways to minimise the damage to our endangered wildlife caused due to road accidents. They suggest three main things. First, if the road is en-route though any wildlife areas like a national park, sanctuary or similar areas, we should avoid driving through them at nights, as it is the main time for movement of the animals. This solution is only effective when the area is having low traffic; otherwise local community agitation cannot allow such restrictions. Secondly, some experts suggest that small creatures are more commonly killed on the roads while they are crossing it. So if the underpasses and upper passes can be created in such areas, we can reduce these killings. Underpasses can be a culvert-like structure or pipes through the road. But many times, I have seen that animals are not just crossing roads, but they also come there for other activities, such as warming in the black dry surface of the road that warms up because of sunlight. Sometimes, small mammals come there for feeding on fallen grains from trucks, or to eat insects attracted by vehicle lights. Many times, small carnivores come there to get better view to catch prey. Therefore, these animals are highly prone to accidents.
Another thing, which is recently suggested, is keeping space while widening the road. Not keeping space on both sides of the road leads to wildlife bumping from forest, straight into the speedy road and being killed. If space can be created on both the sides, animals would get alerted from the speedy vehicles and also the vehicle driver can slow down in time. Most of the time, this space is not left due to trees on both the sides, but if they remove bushy under-covers, the area could be more visible for wild animals and they would not bump directly on moving vehicle.
We do know that roads and development are obvious needs for humans, but there are certain ways to co-exist with wildlife. Snakes are mostly active in monsoon and similarly, there are certain seasons when animal movement is most active and we should be aware of those. If we become slightly aware about those important seasons and cautious areas, our wildlife can be saved much more easily from road accidents.
(The writer is a conservation biologist at
Tiger Watch, Ranthambore)