SC to decide on night traffic in tiger reserves

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SC to decide on night traffic in tiger reserves

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 06, 2010
First Published: 00:33 IST(6/9/2010)
Last Updated: 00:34 IST(6/9/2010)

The Supreme Court is likely to decide whether to allow night traffic through tiger reserves or not by this week. The decision can impact tiger protection as night traffic is not allowed in several tiger reserves because of its adverse impact on wildlife and the accidents that kill animals.

The Karnataka government in 2009 had banned movement of vehicles, except a few buses, on the national highway connecting the state with Kerala and passing through Bandipur tiger reserve.

The Kerala government first appealed against the decision in Karnataka high court and lost.

In May 2010, the Supreme Court gave some reprieve when it allowed traffic in convoys to pass through the Bandipur tiger reserve, a move opposed by local wildlife and tiger experts.

“Many tigers have either died or have been fatally injured by vehicles on the highway in Bandipur,” said a local wildlife expert.

“Moreover, there is an alternate route to the highway which is just a few km longer.”

NGOs have submitted data on how high speed vehicles passing through national highways can disturb wildlife habitat apart from causing accidents.

Incidents of death of tiger and elephants by high speed vehicles passing through wildlife sanctuaries have been reported from across India.

“The light of the vehicles blind the animals and they get trapped leading to their death,” an expert said.

Wildlife experts say the apex court’s decision will have huge ramifications as night traffic is now allowed in several reserves.

The ministry of environment and forest has also advocated either ban on night traffic or speed restrictions in wildlife areas.

These issues are likely to come before the apex court when it hears the case on Monday.

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