Boipariguda: A hare was killed in a road accident on the busy Ranchi-Vijayawada Highway that meanders through many reserve forests in both Koraput and Malkangiri districts.
Morning walkers spotted the herbivore dead and alerted the forest officials who buried it. They said the hare had suffered grievous injuries, resulting in its death. “The animal seems to be about 3 years old. The post-mortem report is awaited,” the officials said.
More than 25 deer, hares, rabbits, bats and owls have been crushed to death under speeding vehicles on the highway in the last six months, a report said. Repeated loss of lives of animals due to careless and reckless driving has become a matter of concern. This has led to resentment among animal lovers, conservationists and senior citizens who blamed the forest department for the animal deaths.
According to sources, the highway from Jeypore to Malkangiri passes through three forest areas—Jeypore, Boipariguda and Gobindpali — home to a wide range of wildlife.
While Jeypore area comprises forests from Dangarchintru to Patraput, Boipariguda forest range extends from Kota to Panditbeda and Gobindpali area in Malkangiri district covers Saptadhara River to Gobindpali Ghat.
Earlier, the roads were narrow. Animals used to easily cross the road. Now, with 60 ft-wide roads, it is difficult for the animals to cross them from one side to the other. Still, they do risking their lives.
Moreover, the number of buses plying from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Raipur and Malkangiri has tripled in the last one year, making the road one of the busiest. Since most of the bus services are at night, they pose serious threat to the animals crossing the highway.
“One can witness the death of animal on a daily basis while crossing this road,” a local said adding that there was an urgent need to take steps to protect the animals.
Moreover, the night buses are often beyond speed limits. Since most of the animals venture out in the night in search of food, they fall under the wheels of vehicles. Also, the vehicle headlights blind the animals and stun their instincts to escape. Rabbits, foxes, wolves, bats, owls and other nocturnal animals are the worst sufferers.
Residents demanded that certain areas be declared animal sensitive zones and vehicular speed controlled. “The highway vehicular speed has become a curse to wildlife. The government must construct underpasses, bridges in such dense forests, so that animals can pass around safely,” a local said.
When contacted, Boipariguda forest range officer Ramesh Chandra Rout said that he would look into the matter.
“We will take steps to install caution signboards which show the speed limits across highway road in the forest area along with setting up CCTVs at accident prone areas on the road and spread awareness among the drivers for safe driving at nights,” Rout said.