After tiger’s death on NH6, Maha to take up matter with NHAI
A day after an eight-year-old male tiger was run over near Bazaargaon, on the Nagpur-Amravati national highway (NH6), officials from forest department said they will take up the matter with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Officials said they will suggest NHAI to install speed breakers or construct underpasses for wild animals to cross over safely.
Forest officials on Saturday confirmed that the tiger which became a road kill was Bajirao (BTR-T2), a dominant male in the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary and has fathered most of the tigers in the sanctuary.
“Bajirao’s death might be the first incident of an adult tiger being killed in a road accident in Maharashtra in the past five years. It is a great loss to the state. We will write to the NHAI about this incident and requesting it to immediately build underpasses in the area,” said a senior Mantralaya official from the state forest department.
HT had reported on Saturday that Bajirao was hit by a speeding vehicle at 7pm Friday and died of injuries to head, face, and hind limbs he sustained in the accident. As per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Friday’s incident has increased the death toll of tigers to 24 in the state, which is second highest in the country after Madhya Pradesh (25).
Forest officials from Bor conducted a post-mortem of the tiger on Saturday and burnt the body as per NTCA guidelines.
“The autopsy result will be issue on Monday. We were able to confirm the identity of the tiger as T2. It is a huge loss for our reserve, as the tiger had possibly fathered more than 20 cubs in his territory of 150 sq km — from Bor to Kalmeshwar in Nagpur,” said G Mallikarjuna deputy conservator of forest, Nagpur. “We will be raising the issue with senior officers in the department regarding the safety of animals along this stretch, and adequate measures will be taken so that such incidents aren’t repeated.”
The Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, which spans across 138.12 sq km, is located 60km from Nagpur in Wardha district.
This is not the first time that a wild animal was killed in the same area, said Fardeem Aazmi, range forest officer. “Last year, a male leopard was killed in the same area. A few months ago, a deer was killed in a road accident. It looked like both the animals were hit by speeding four-wheelers. We are scrutinising footage recorded by CCTV cameras to identify the vehicle,” he said. “There are 8 to 9 tigers in this part of the forest and a similar situation can arise if mitigation measures are not taken immediately.”
Officials from NHAI told HT that funds had already been sanctioned for the construction of three underpasses, measuring 750-metre each, across a stretch of 7.6km at different locations on the NH6.
“We are deeply concerned about the safety of wildlife and measures are being taken to protect it along our highways. We are not sure whether the underpass is at the same location where the tiger was killed. However, in consultation with chief wildlife warden of Maharashtra, and union environment ministry, the tendering process is complete and construction is expected to begin soon,” said B Mukhopadhyay, general manager, environment, NHAI.
AK Misra, chief wildlife warden, Maharashtra, said there was no underpass planned at the site where the tiger was killed. “All future road projects have provision for underpasses. The death of this tiger is unfortunate and has been an eye-opener. We have not received any proposal from the NHAI so far, but we will be stressing on mitigation measures in the area,” he said.