ROADWATCH APP SAVING WILDLIFE FROM DEATHTRAPS

Wildlife enthusiasts throughout India are updating about injured animals on RoadWatch — an android mobile application. The mobile app has recorded the data base of nearly 700 different animals that were injured on different stretches across the country. Figures compiled through the RoadWatch app have revealed staggering facts that the number of animals being killed on roadside is more than the number of animals killed by poachers.

Interestingly, reptiles top the list of species killed on roads, says the app data.

Radhika Bhagat, a researcher with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), told The Pioneer that highways along  Gorumara National Park in West Bengal has been found to be most vulnerable for wild animals and has been turned into “wild- killing zone”.

According to the data derived from Global Positing System (GPS)-enabled app, Uttar Mitiali via Lataguri up to Batabari in West Bengal is the most accident prone zone where a large number of injured/dead animals were found.

Out of 700 reported deaths of wild animals, 252 were reptiles, 181 mammals, 84 birds, 71 amphibians and 72 unidentified till date. In an innovative wildlife awareness campaign – “I Brake For Wildlife”, thousands of people are using this application and updating the details of injured animals with GPS enabled smart device — mobile phone.

The app is helping the authorities in preparing and marking dangerous roads in India. With continuous updates, the researchers have come out with a conclusion that Gorumara National Park is highly  accident prone zone or wild animals.

Associated with RoadWatch monitoring group through  “Society for Protecting Ophiofauna and Animal Rights (SPOAR)” , S P Pandey is currently working on  Gorumara project to study the cause behind road mishaps involving animals.

“The collected data helps to reveal potential threats for any particular species that might be facing local extinction, adding, “This ongoing survey of roadkills has revealed some interesting facts about the species diversity and abundance in Gorumara and adjacent areas,” said Pandey.

He said indicating grave danger for such exquisite faunal diversity of the region. “After receiving the road kill datasheet submitted by SPOAR, the office of Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife North) has issued a letter on April12, 2018 to the Divisional Forest Officer (Gorumara Wildlife Division) requesting necessary action to control the road kill incidents on these roads.”

“Facts pertaining to wildlife roadside killing are shocking”, said  Pandey. “Some of the endangered and threatened species were seen getting killed due to speeding vehicles. Leopards, cats, fishing cats, full grown leopards, Indian gaur, civet cats, ferret badgers, rhesus monkeys and a huge number of reptiles, including the king cobras, countless amphibians, even birds are getting killed in these two stretches of National Highways,” he said. Urgent measures are required to arrest this trend, Pandey added.

Data-base with RoadWatch also highlighted that road stretches in Odisha, Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharshtra are vulnerable for animal passing by the roads.

Date: 24 April 2018

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