Wildlife corridors turn death traps in Karnataka

Wildlife corridors turn death traps in Karnataka as agencies bypass safety norms

The stretch witnessed the death of two motorists near Dongargaon cross within Bhimgad sanctuary limits in Khanapur taluk

Forest officials from the Canara circle inspect the death of an Indian Gaur that killed on the State Highway -30 by a speeding vehicle in Joida taluk of Uttara Kannada. Credit: DH Photo

The Karnataka highway-30 (Sindhanur-Hemmadaga-Anmod) is fast turning out to be a death trap for animals and humans alike. This is a result of the failure to implement mitigation measures as agreed previously.

Even as the Public Works Department (PWD), Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) and the National Highways Authority of India are dragging their feet on installing rumble strips, speed-breakers and signboards, an Indian Gaur and two people were killed on the stretch recently.

According to sources in the forest department, Belagavi, an Indian Gaur was knocked down by a speeding vehicle on September 15 on SH-30 in the limits of Dandeli sanctuary in Joida taluk of Uttara Kannada district.

The stretch witnessed the death of two motorists near Dongargaon cross within Bhimgad sanctuary limits in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district on September 24.

"While one person died on the spot, another succumbed to injuries at the hospital," an official said.

Wildlife conservationist from Belagavi, Giridhar Kulkarni, said, "The forest officials have brought this to the notice of the user agencies and demanded implementation of necessary mitigation measures. Both PWD and KRDCL had agreed to install rumble strips, speed-breakers and signboards on the roads. But, hardly any measures have been implemented till today."

Together, the Belagavi-Uttara Kannada forests have a good population of tigers. They witness the crisscrossing of three state highways and a national highway through crucial wildlife habitats.

SH-30 passes through the heart of Bhimgad sanctuary and is closed for traffic from 6 pm to 6 am since November 2015. SH-31 (Belagavi-Chorla), passing through Kanakumbi forest, has witnessed road kills of gaurs, leopards, reptiles and humans. State highway-34 (Alnavar-Ramnagar), passing through Nagargali forest, has also reported deaths of chitals and sloth bears due to vehicular traffic.

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