JOIDA: The recent death of a porcupine in an accident on State Highway 34 near Joida in Uttara Kannada district in Haliyal Forest Division limits has underscored the importance of taking immediate measures to check such incidents.Aurad-Sadashivgad State Highway (SH-34) starts at Aurad in Bidar district and ends at Sadashivgad in Uttara Kannada district.
This highway stretching nearly 670 km connects Bidar, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Belagavi and Uttara Kannada districts and is the longest state highway in the state. Out of 670 km, at least 150 km passes through the crucial wildlife habitats of Belagavi and Uttara Kannada districts and more importantly Kali Tiger Reserve.
There are at least 14 main roads in Kali Tiger Reserve, out of which State Highway 34 experiences heavy vehicular traffic and has seen the highest number of wild animal deaths due to accidents.
Since 2009, mammals such as sloth bear, sambar, chital, jackal, wild pigs, small India civet, brown palm civet, langur, bonnet macaque, jackal and a leopard have fallen prey to vehicles passing on this highway. Even monitor lizards, king cobra and other snakes are regularly being killed on this road according to Wildlife activist Giridhar Kulkarni who has been collecting data on wildlife mortalities due to road and railway accidents across Karnataka.
Many incidents go unnoticed which is a worrying factor. A subcommittee appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has recommended that suitable mitigation measures should be taken in Core Critical Tiger Habitats, National Parks and Sanctuaries.
Wildlife activists have urged the Uttara Kannada District Administration and forest department to direct agencies such as Public Works Department, Karnataka Road Development Corporation and Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project Division to take mitigation measures such as installing road humps and underpasses in a scientific manner wherever realignments of roads are not possible.
A sloth bear was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Joida on Aurad-Sadashivgad State Highway (SH-34) recently within Haliyal Forest Division limits.