222 wild animals killed in eight months on NH-74dehradun Updated: Sep 08, 2017 20:14 IST
NH-74 connects Dehradun with Haridwar.(HT File Photo)
A 30 km stretch on National Highway-74 between Dehradun and Haridwar has killed 222 wild animals within eight months, says a study.
Conducted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on ‘The impacts of a national highway on wildlife in Haridwar forest division’, the study claims wild animals are most vulnerable in the stretch between Gauri Shankar temple and Kotawali in Chidiapur. Speeding vehicles collide into animals which cross the stretch in search of water.
More concerning is that speeding vehicles are not being checked all along the route even now. During the study period, scientists could not find speed breakers on the stretch. Only one rumble strip was observed and that too was dismantled.
Wildlife experts suggested construction of three flyovers on this stretch to facilitate safe passage of wild animals to forest officers on Friday in a meeting. The recommendations will be submitted to the Haridwar forest division and the forest department. Two flyovers from Pili River to Rawasan and Gaindhikhatta to Chidiapur were suggested based on highest mortality rate. The third one from Chandi Bridge to Tedhi Pul was recommended for smooth passage of elephants
Scientists have also generated a hot-spot map identifying exact locations where most of the wildlife casualties were reported.
“On the right side of the road is the Jhilmil Conservation Reserve and the Ganga which is the perennial source of water, while on the left is a thick forest of Rajaji. We noticed that animals cross the national highway to reach water bodies for quenching their thirst and gets killed,” WII project scientist Sultan (who goes by his first name) told Hindustan Times.
Between September 2016 till April 2017, the kills included two leopards, one Himalayan Black Bear, 19 Sambhars and 11 Cheetals. Tigers have also fallen prey to accidents with the first incident reported in May 2016. Both Haridwar and Rajaji have a healthy tiger population. Official records of the division states 26 leopards were killed in the stretch in last one decade.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO Haridwar HK Singh denied commenting on the issue. Digvijay Singh Khati, chief wildlife warden who was present at the meeting did not pick calls despite repeated attempts.