Sunday, February 21, 2010

India: Bandipur night traffic ban sees fall in poaching

K Shiva Kumar

First Published : 18 Feb 2010 10:20:23 AM IST
Last Updated :

MYSORE: In what is a shot in the arm for wildlife enthusiasts and a feather in the cap of the state judiciary, road-deaths of animals in the Bandipur National Park have fallen drastically, forest department officials and conservationists said.

"The road kills have come down by more than 95 per cent in past six months. Only one spotted deer has been killed so far, " Wildlife Foundation activist Rajkumar said.
Prior to the ban on night traffic in the Bandipur park, ‘The Wildlife Foundation', a conservation group, documented 91 road deaths, which included an elephant, a tiger, a leopard and several mammals and reptiles.

With a mounting pile of animal carcasses and the growing protests of conservationists, the deputy commissioner of Chamarajnagar banned traffic in NH-212 and NH-67 from 9 pm to 6 am. The Karnataka High Court upheld the ban when the state government revoked it.

Bandipur Divisional Forest Officer Hanumanthappa said that after the ban no road kills have been reported during the nights.

"The night ban has also checked poaching of species like the slendor loris," a senior forest officer said on the condition of anonymity.

The Mysore slendor loris is a local sub-species of the loris, a small primate. The Mysore loris in Bandipur used to be easy prey for poachers, who would trap them during night after blinding them with the head lamps of their vehicles. They were then illegally sold for conducting laboratory experiments.

Hanumanthappa said the traffic ban has also had the positive effect of awakening the public towards the need of wild life conservation.

The ban has made people feel that they will land in trouble for negligent driving and speeding and has also made people want to protect the forest and the wildlife, he said.

Both Hanumanthappa and wildlife photographer Krupaka said that the night traffic ban has created more space for wildlife movement.


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