Road kill of animals by highway traffic in the tropical forests of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India

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N. Baskaran
D. Boominathan


Highways passing through natural reserves have adverse impact on wild animals. We evaluated the road kill of vertebrate fauna by vehicular traffic on highways at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India. In a fortnight’s survey over 248km across three public roads and opportunistic sampling method, a minimum of 180 road kills belonging to 40 species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals were recorded between December 1998 and March 1999. Amphibians were the most affected taxa (53%) of road kills followed by reptiles (22%), mammals (18%); including a leopard (Panthera pardus) and birds (7%). Amphibians and reptiles are slow to react to vehicles and this along with the drivers’ ignorance probably leads to higher mortality among these species. Road kills are significantly higher on highway stretches along rivers than those without water bodies nearby. We suggest the construction of flyovers, speed limits, speed breakers and signposts along the highways to reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortalities.

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Author Biographies

N. Baskaran

Dr. N. Baskaran is presently a Sr. Scientist at the ANCF, studying Asian Elephant and its habitats across Western and Eastern Ghats and Eastern Himalayas landscapes since 1990.

D. Boominathan

Mr. D. Boominathan is presently a Sr. Project Officer in Western Ghats Landscape Program of WWF, studying the human–elephant conflict since 2003.

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