BENGALURU: Putting up speed breakers on the roads that criss-cross Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), Dandeli, to protect animals has brought down the number of road kills. In fact, at all the locations where the speed breakers have been installed, no road kills have been reported so far.
In view of the frequent deaths of mammals and reptiles caused by speeding vehicles on national and state highways cutting across the reserve, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has so far sanctioned `12 lakh for road hump construction in Kulgi and Anshi Wildlife Ranges.
Conservator of Forests and Director, KTR, O Palaiah said, “No wildlife road kills have occurred after the installation of humps on these roads during 2016-17 and as of October, 2017.”
In 2016-17, 20 road humps were constructed at a cost of `8 lakh on six roads — from Kulgi to Ambikanagar, Ambikanagar to Skyes Point, Ambikanagar to FRL, FRL Cross to Kulgi, Ambikanagar to FRL Cross and Ambikanagar to Power House Road. Meanwhile, another six road humps are now being installed between Kadra and Kodtalli and two humps on the Anshi-Ulavi Road at a cost of `2 lakh in Anshi Wildlife Range. The speed breakers have been installed almost every 200-400 metres.
A field official from Dandeli said, “Road humps are necessary in these dense jungles teeming with wildlife. It is not possible to tell bus or taxi drivers to reduce their speed. Not all of them will listen to such advice. This is the best way to curtail the speed as, since its installation, road kills have reduced a lot. However, awareness programmes for drivers who frequent these roads are desperately needed.”
Welcoming the installation of speed breakers, wildlife activist Giridhar Kulkarni said, “Although NTCA has sanctioned funds for Kulgi and Anshi Ranges, there are many other main roads including NH-4A, SH-30, 34, 46 and 146 where medium to high traffic has caused wildlife deaths in other ranges of KTR. Further, the state government should provide special funds for mitigation measures on roads passing through territorial divisions which are equally good wildlife habitats.”
Usually killings of only large mammals are reported while the smaller wildlife goes unnoticed. In the last few years, leopard, porcupine, langurs, sambar, chital, leopard cat, civet cats, etc have died. Road kills of King cobra, monitor lizard, common krait, sand boa and frogs have been sighted on these highways.
Sloth Bear killed
In June, a sloth bear was found dead in a vehicular collision near Joida on SH-34 within Haliyal Territorial Division limits while in October, a porcupine was also killed on this stretch.