K’taka forest officials to take measures to make road stretches safer for elephants

Rowdy Ranga’s tragic death has pushed forest officials to mull bringing in measures like speed breakers, night traffic bans on road stretches with higher wildlife movement.
K’taka forest officials to take measures to make road stretches safer for elephants
K’taka forest officials to take measures to make road stretches safer for elephants
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Following the tragic death of Ranga, a 46-year-old elephant who was hit by a speeding bus in the Nagarhole forest area, the state government has directed forest department officials to identify road stretches where wildlife movement is more and put speed-breakers in place.

The decision was announced by Forest Minister R Shankar on the sidelines of the valedictory celebrations of the 64th Wildlife Week and is aimed at regulating vehicle speeds and reduce instances of animals being hit by vehicles.

'Rowdy Ranga', an elephant of the Matthigodu Elephant Camp in Nagarhole, died after being hit by a private bus in the early hours of Monday.

The Forest Minister confirmed that the stretch of road from Virajpet to Bengaluru on which Ranga was hit will have speed breakers in place soon.

He further added that he will hold discussions with CM Kumaraswamy over a ban on traffic during night hours in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve area.

“We want to ban night traffic between 9 pm and 6 am in forest areas, wherever necessary. We are also confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favour of Karnataka on night traffic ban through Bandipur Tiger Reserve,” R Shankar told Times of India.

The night traffic ban through Bandipur is supported by both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and only Kerala is opposed to it.

The forest department is also working out a plan to move elephants outside the forest areas with the department identifying the elephants in Nagarhole and Bandipur camps.

“We had made a proposal to shift the Nagarhole camp elephants to the camp in Doddaharve and those in the Bandipur camp to the Nugu wildlife sanctuary. But it has been delayed as infrastructure to house the mahouts, kavadis, their families and children is still not ready,” said principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) C Jayaram speaking to Deccan Herald.

Meanwhile, Ponnampet police officials have registered a case against Ismail Nalakath Bin Khadar (40), the driver of the bus that hit Ranga, under IPC sections 279 (rash driving) and 429 (committing mischief to kill). But the forest department is yet to file a case under the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972.

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