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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Primates take to ropeway across killer road

Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times  Guwahati, November 09, 2012
First Published: 23:54 IST(9/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:55 IST(9/11/2012)

Having seen mates and brethren end up as road kill, primates in Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary have started using a ropeway strung across a high-traffic road to commute.

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The primates have overcome their initial resistance to the ropeway placed nine months ago, raising hopes for similar passages for animals in habitats close to congested roads and railway tracks.

Death has often ruled the 44.57 sq km sanctuary in western Assam. Earlier this year, the removal of a signboard proclaiming "land reserved for Idgah (prayer ground)" from the sanctuary led to the Kokrajhar communal riots in which 97 people were killed.

For wildlife activists, the frequency with which vehicles have hit the sanctuary's animals, particularly the endangered golden langur, is worrisome.

Chakrashila was established specifically for this primate endemic to the Indo-Bhutan region. Forest officials have recorded at least 10 of these primates having been run over since 2005.

“A 500m stretch of the road near Chakrashila has been notorious for the death of several animals. We placed the ropeway measuring 17ft from the top of trees across this road in January in a bid to prevent golden langurs being run over. We now have proof of the primates using the ropeway,” Nizira Borgoyari, local area officer of the Wildlife Trust of India said.

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