9 Feb 2008, 0536 hrs IST,Neha Shukla,TNN
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LUCKNOW: A tiger died in an accident at Mailani range of South Kheri forest division under Dudhwa National Park, on Friday. The body of the animal was found lying in compartment no 8, on the road between Khutar and Gola in Mailani range of the South Kheri division, in the evening.
What caused the death is still not known as none of the senior forest officials from Dudhwa could be contacted. The body was found lying 25 metres from the road inside the forest area, said few lower rung officials from the spot. Head injury is also noticed, they added.
After December 6, when a tiger injured in a road accident in Bahraich breathed its last in Lucknow zoo, this is the second case when an adult and healthy tiger has succumbed to injuries other than natural.
Dudhwa tiger reserve has a history of losing its endangered inmates to road and rail accidents. Reason being the two busy roads and a rail track running through it.
The Dudhwa tiger reserve, which comprises Kishenpur sanctuary, Dudhwa national park and Katarniaghat sanctuary, has Mailani-Gonda rail track running through it.
Besides, while Palia-Gauri Phanta Road cuts through Dudhwa, a road between Motipur and Katarniaghat has constantly posed threat to the animals in the sanctuary there.
Both the rail and the road are open to general public. No wonder, many experts see the casualties so happening as yet another manifestation of man-animal conflict. “It is definitely so”, said Tito Joseph from Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
The rail and road links were laid some 40 years back and now fast moving vehicles pass through it all day. Not very far back, three elephants were run over by the train on this track. Initially it was used for transportation of wood but now people travel through it.
“This highlights the need of fencing around forest areas so that these animals do not keep coming on the road or rail track”, said Jaswant Singh Kaler, a wildlife expert from the area.
On an average, atleast one tiger or leopard is lost to rail/road accidents per year in these wildlife shelters, is the view commonly shared by the wildlife experts and also forest officials here.
But, like the senior forest official from Dudhwa, on earlier occasion, added, “We do not have enough funds for providing fencing that is why we have to cut down from somehwere and make do elsewhere.
Especially the areas around southern parts of Dudhwa that lead to North kheri division have very little or no fencing.”
Forest officials have also mentioned from time to time that they strictly check that no vehicles are allowed in the reserve before sunrise and after sunset, that is before 7 am and after 7 pm.
Besides, speed limit of 30 kms has also been fixed for the vehicles that enter the protected area. Still, controlling animals to venture on to the road is difficult, they agreed.
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