222 Wild Animal Deaths Recorded On NH-74
A study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) revealed a staggering 222 wildlife deaths, recorded along a 30 km. stretch of National Highway-74 between Dehradun and Haridwar, over a period of eight months.
The study titled “The impacts of a national highway on wildlife in Haridwar forest division” states that the animals of the region face danger from speeding vehicles along the highway.The National Highway is flanked by the Jhilmil Conservation Reserve and the perennial river Ganga on one side and the forests of Rajaji National Park on the other side, and obstructs the to and fro movement of wildlife between these Protected Areas.
Between September 2016 and April 2017, the recorded kills included two common leopards, one Himalayan black bear, 19 sambar deer and 11 chital deer. Tigers too have fallen prey to speeding vehicles, with the first tiger death being reported in May 2016. Official records state that 26 leopards were killed along this highway in the last one decade.
Despite recurring incidents, there are no check posts to regulate speed limits along the highway. The study also pointed out the lack of speed breakers, having observed only one lone dismantled rumble strip on the stretch.
Based on the findings of the study, wildlife experts in a meeting with forest officials have proposed the construction of three flyovers along the stretch to facilitate safe passage for wild animals and reduce wildlife roadkills.