MANGALURU: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is working on a proposal to install ‘U-shaped ditches’ under the existing railway tracks passing through the wildlife corridors of the Western Ghats in order to save turtles, reptiles and other creatures.
In a letter to Minister of MoEFCC Bhupendra Yadav and Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw, a wildlife activist from Mangaluru, Nagaraj Devadiga has drawn their attention to many creatures getting injured or killed while crossing the railway tracks in the Western Ghats and urged them to build U-shaped concrete ditches between Kabaka Puttur and Hassan (139 km) which comes under the South Western Railway.
“Western Ghats is home to at least 325 globally threatened species, including 51 critically endangered ones. Of these, 28 species of freshwater turtles (two of which are endangered), 91 species of snakes, 75 species of crabs and four species of lizards migrate to other parts of Western Ghats for breeding and while doing so, they get injured or killed while crossing the tracks,” Devadiga said.
U-shaped concrete ditches a success in Japan
Nagaraj Devadiga said that U-shaped concrete ditches have been successfully built in Japan to save the turtles in Kyoto and Nara. “In April 2015, the West Japan Railways Department, in collaboration with Suma Acqualife, created U-shaped concrete ditches under railway tracks enabling turtles and other creatures to crawl to their destination on the other side of the track without getting injured or run over by trains.
Previously, the turtles would crawl under the tracks and get crushed,” he said in the letter. Devadiga said the ditches should be constructed at every 500m along the 139 km railway track between Kabaka Puttur and Hassan. Taking note of the letter, MoEFCC has written to the Wildlife Division of the Ministry to come up with a proposal and study its effectiveness. Sources in the South Western Railway, however, said they are yet to receive any guidelines from MoEFCC.