Online campaign against vehicle movement in Bandipur

Online campaign against vehicle movement in Bandipur

Responding to reports that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has reportedly agreed to revoke the ban on night traffic on the national highway (NH) cutting through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Chamarajanagar district, wildlife activists have launched an online campaign to oppose the move.

Krishna Naveen has launched the campaign ‘Please Save Bandipur Tigers - No Elevated Highway. No Removal Of Night Traffic Ban’. Nearly 7,000 people have signed the petition addressed to Kumaraswamy, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka, Chief secretary of Karnataka, Chief Justice of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority.

In the petition, it has been mentioned that Bandipur Tiger Reserve is a part of the larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and one of the largest continuous forest areas in India. The night ban on vehicular movement on two national highways (NH-67 and NH-212) through the park has saved many endangered wild animals. These highways were closed for vehicular traffic at night time in response to a high court order. However, all emergency vehicles and 16 state transport buses are allowed to pass at night.

There is clear documentation and several scientific studies that depict reduction of wildlife mortalities at night time after the highways were closed.

Three scientific studies, carried out in the landscape (Bandipur-Nagarahole- Mudumalai), highlight the adverse impact of highways and vehicular traffic on wildlife.

According to the petition, a special committee, formed on the basis of the orders of Karnataka High Court, has given its opinion that the vehicular movement must be banned from 6 pm to 6 am, if possible.

The activity of wildlife, especially predators, peak during night time. Hence, it is not in the interest of large carnivores and other wildlife to reduce the time of the closure of night traffic. The night closure of the highways has set an example to provide safe passages for animals, it has mentioned.

The petition states the stand taken by the previous four chief ministers of Karnataka to keep the highways closed for traffic during night time.