Book Review: The Handbook of Road Ecology

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Title: The Handbook of Road Ecology

Editors: Rodney van der Ree; Daniel Smith and Clara Grilo


Linear infrastructure, such as roads, railways, power lines, pipelines, tracks and trails and the vehicles that travel on them are critical to supporting economic growth and development. However, the ecological impacts of linear infrastructure and vehicles can be massive, and usually negative. These impacts include habitat loss, fragmentation of habitats and populations, mortality of wildlife due to collision with vehicles, … Read More

Leopard Roadkill, Demow, Assam

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The NH-37 from Guwahati to Tinsukia in Assam weaves through some really magnificent Terai forests and grasslands in the Brahmaputra floodplains. It is also a highly populated landscape. I was driving overnight on NH37 on 28th February 2015 to Tinsukia. Around midnight, near Demow, in Sibsagar District, I saw a small gathering on the road and I assumed that there had been an accident. It was indeed an accident but of a different nature. It was a roadkill of a … Read More

National Highway through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a death trap for animals

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Urgent Action Needed!

Effective speed control measures to reduce wildlife road kills needed immediately as per locations suggested in report (download).

This report has been submitted to the Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests Department, Tamil Nadu and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Tamil Nadu Forest Department for action.


  1. The National Highway (NH209) passing through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary poses a grave threat to wildlife.
  2. The extent of the road within the sanctuary is
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Desert Fox and Salt Truck, Rann of Kutch

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This image is about how we as consumers are putting pressure on wildlife and wildlife habitats. This Desert Fox was photographed at the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) near Patdi village in Gujarat, which is said to produce a significant chunk of India’s salt. This salt also gets exported to other countries. The Rann is one of the most vibrant desert ecosystems in the world, supporting a large number of birds and mammals. This pup belongs to a den just … Read More

Roads Emerging as a Critical Threat to Leopards in India?

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This article originally appeared in Cat News 60 – Spring 2014 issue.

Leopards (Panthera pardus) face severe threats from poaching, loss of habitat and killing in retaliation to conflict. However, in India a new threat appears to be emerging in the form of vehicle accident mortalities. In the past 60 months 23 leopards have been recorded as killed due to road accidents in the southern Indian state of Karnataka alone. When roads overlap with important wildlife habitats, considerable … Read More

Elephants and Dhole, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!

As this road … Read More

Lion-Tailed Macaque and Traffic, Someshwara

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This image is from the Agumbe – Someshwara main road in the Malnad region of Karnataka. This is a very busy road as it provides the shortest connection from Shimoga to coastal towns like Manipal, Mangalore and Udupi. Sadly, there are no signboards or speed-breakers to notify wildlife crossing areas.

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. These macaques can benefit from ecologically informed and … Read More

Q: My question is about the roads which are shut during the night time in Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks in Karnataka, why can’t we shut these roads completely? I know there was a great struggle to even shut these roads during night time. But with the will and constant fight against the evil powers, your case study has shown how it can be handled. Alternate roads can be developed far away from forest range easily if Government has the willingness to do so. I have left my comment below your case study as well, please advice whether my words make sense or not.

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Managing Trustee, Wildlife First:

Your comment on developing alternative alignments to roads that cut through Wildlife Reserves is valid. A lot of effort has been put in by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to address this issue. There have been many interventions by Courts as well. So, we are moving forward but we cannot completely close down roads/highways since that would antagonise society, which will lead to the loss of public support for conservation. … Read More

Failed to escape

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The Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) is an elusive nocturnal rodent. It is covered in multiple layers of quills. The longest ones grow from its shoulders to about a third of its length. Its tail is covered in short, hollow quills that it rattles when threatened.  When attacked, it raises its quills and rattles the hollow tail quills. If the predator still persists, the porcupine launches a backwards assault, hoping to stab its attacker with its quills. It does … Read More

Leopard Road Kill, MM Hills

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A young male leopard was victim of being run over at night by a speeding vehicle on 5th January, 2013. This happened on the Konanakere-Talubetta Road near the foothills of MM Hills.

Related media coverage about the incident.

Roads and highways through protected areas pose a severe conservation threat. In Karnataka, 9 of the 15 national highways pass through important wildlife habitats in the Western Ghats, while 28 state highways (out of 151) pass through the Ghats. The primary challenge … Read More

Yellow-bellied Weasel, Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh

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We found this huge rodent lying on the road, dying. We stopped to check what it was. We assumed that a biker who was going ahead had knocked it down, but weren’t sure. As we were discussing this, we saw a tiny animal pop out from a nullah, which was covered by dense vegetation next to the road. It immediately disappeared into the shrubs.

We initially mistook it to be a young Yellow-throated Marten. But then, out it popped again … Read More

A Jungle-striped squirrel runover by a speeding vehicle

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This image was taken along the Aliyar – Valparai ghat road on 29th March 2013 in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. Speeding two wheelers and cars on these roads pose a serious threat to this lesser known species of the Western Ghats. These squirrels had to cross the road to reach another patch of shola forest amidst tea estates. We saw another Jungle-striped Squirrel nearby. Further up, the same road turns killer to the endangered Lion-tailed macaques which … Read More

Tiger and a plastic bottle, Bandipur

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I saw this young tigress in Bandipur with a plastic bottle near its feet.

In spite of a nighttime traffic closure (see CI casestudy), the Ooty-Mysore highway (NH 67) through Bandipur Tiger Reserve causes serious disturbances to wildlife. Tourists and passersby are always stopping by the road to look at wild animals or disturbing them like feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking and, not the least, speeding.

Hoever, what disturbed me most was this plastic … Read More

Lion-tailed Macaque with Ice Cream, Anamalai Hills

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We came across some Lion-tailed Macaques (LTMs) at Pudhuthottam estate near Valparai. While some of the LTMs were feeding on fruits and shoots, this one was feeding on Ice Cream irresponsibly discarded by tourists. This species is in constant conflict, with some of the males even entering the main town of Valparai. Ice Cream should be the last thing this endangered species needs.

The Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus) is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the … Read More

Highway traffic, Nagarahole

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A two-wheeler bringing fresh fish from Kerala into Karnataka. Traffic starts on the Mysore-Mananthavadi highway in Nagarahole national park at the stroke of dawn. Conservationists successfully closed the highway from 6pm to 6am. Despite the many obvious problems posed by roads through wildlife areas, more roads are being planned in Nagarahole (and through other protected areas of Karnataka), by the state government.

Read related case study of night time highway closure though Bandipur Tiger Reserve.… Read More

Road kill of Indian Jackal on NH-121, Corbett landscape, Uttarakhand

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The carcass of an Indian Jackal that was killed in a road accident on NH 121 that runs through Corbett Tiger Reserve, and on to New Delhi. This picture was taken near Peerumadara, on the stretch of the highway between Ramnagar and Kashipur. The animal was found on 10th of December 2011 at approximately 7:30 hours. The animal might even have been a pregnant female.

This highway poses a serious risk for all wildlife as it passes near Corbett Tiger … Read More

Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor, Wayanad, Kerala

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This picture of a tusker attempting to cross the road was taken in the Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. A number of human settlements are present here adding to the pressure in addition to roads like these. This road leads to the famous Thirunelli Temple which is a very popular tourism destination.

Several Indian and International wildlife NGOs and charities are working with the government to secure the 42-mile Thirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, a vital funnel route for elephants, … Read More

A Lion-tailed Macaque By The Roadside, Anamalai Hills

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How do you feel when you see this photo? Don’t you think that this is one of the ugliest and saddest sights to witness? The lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. Instead of living freely in the canopy of the rainforest, here is a male by a roadside, looking for food.

This individual has been forced into looking for food in passing vehicles. The habitat of … Read More

Framing Ecologically Sound Policy on Linear Intrusions Affecting Wildlife Habitats

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In the 20th meeting of the Standing Committee of the NBWL held on 13 October 2010, it was discussed that linear intrusions were a serious issue and a sound policy needs to be framed consulting various experts. The Chairman requested the member of the Standing Committee from the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, to prepare a background paper that could be discussed at the next meeting to move towards the formulation of a policy on linear intrusions at the national level. … Read More

Tiger Roadkill, NH 212, Bandipur 2003

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This tiger was killed by a speeding vehicle on the Gundlupet – Sulthan Bathery road (NH 212) in 2003.

Two major National Highways pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve – NH-67 (Gundlupet – Ooty Road) and NH 212 (Gundlupet – Sultan Batthery Road) – and both experience heavy traffic. The traffic on NH-67 is largely tourists plying from Karnataka to the hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. While on NH 212 there is heavy passenger and truck traffic plying to … Read More

Environment Ministry Seeks Restoration of Night Traffic on Highways Through Bandipur

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The Karnataka High Court had banned night traffic, between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM, through the two national highways that cut through Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The Karnataka Forest Department had provided evidence that wildlife including elephants and tigers were being regularly killed after being run over by vehicles and were also being driven out of the forest due to sound and light disturbance. Based on these evidences, the High Court had passed the order. However, the Ministry … Read More