Mr S Ravindran, a banker by profession has a heart that many people lack. His heart beats for wild animals and strongly advocates protective measures to save the helpless creatures. Mr Ravindran, who heads a bank that has the annual transaction of more than Rs 20,600 crore!, believes in co-existence with nature, simple living and high thinking. This is what Mahatma Gandhiji preached throughout his life. Let Mr Ravindran’s tribe grow…

In a detailed article, Mr Ravindran narrated why humans need to protect wild animals and what role they have been playing in the eco-system.

The process of development envisages linking of villages with cities. The advent of railways and roads has brought in  huge improvement in transportation  which has resulted in remote villages and forest  areas to have access to cities and towns.  The common man has thus benefitted from this aspect of modernization which has brought tremendous changes in the lifestyle of all classes of people.

Even amidst the disappearing flora and fauna, the evergreen forests are still resplendent in the coastal districts. Traversing through these roads, one can enjoy the beauty of verdant forests. Despite widespread felling of trees, the forest is home to various species of animals and birds that are on the brink of extinction. A traveler through these forest paths is lucky to glimpse these rare animals sometimes.

Once our car was stuck in a traffic jam while we were crossing through a forest area. More than twenty vehicles stood in line before us. On an enquiry, it was found that a vehicle had hit a wild animal, killing it instantly. The forest dwellers had caught hold of the driver and were venting their angst for mercilessly taking the life of a protected species.

This set me thinking. Yes, roads are necessary to establish contact with the outside world. Yet, at the same time,  it poses a real threat to the animals at the hands of reckless drivers. The numbers of birds and animals have gone on dwindling and they have been pushed to the interiors of the forest for their survival.  But development is a continuous process and roads have made in ways into these innermost parts as well. Despite restrictions, huge numbers of vehicles pass through the forests each day.  As a result, every month not less than five wild animals are falling prey to rash driving. As it is, the breeding pattern has recorded a downward trend due to environmental pollution. Added to this, deaths due to accidents is a major cause for disappearance of wild animals from the face of earth.

Mr Ravindran proposes these types of underpasses for the wild animals to graze and move freely and safely when vehicles keep on moving on the roads that pass through the forest areas.

Forest area is restricted to a few states in India and ours is one of them. It is estimated that a forest road runs to an average of 50 to 100 km. Wild animals are always going about in search of food and water and this brings them in proximity to the roads and railway tracks. The unending stream of traffic and the hoarseness of honking horns are irritating to the sensitive ears of animals. The moving herds are disturbed by the sound of horns creating panic, making them run helter-skelter, ultimately one of them ends up under the wheels of some vehicle.

This does not mean that traffic through forests should be stopped forever or forest roads closed. Alternatives can be thought of to protect the fauna from extinction. A notable point is that animals prefer paths with cave like structures. Every road/railway track in the forest should have tunnel-like paths at a distance of every kilometer for the animals to pass. With this arrangement, wild animals can continue on their path unhindered and will not stray onto the roads. This thinking has already found expression in many western countries. Under the roads and railway tracks in forest areas, tunnels are constructed. This tunneled paths should look real and feel like an extension of the forest land. For this, the tunneled path should be constructed wherever there is a stream of water. The same principle can be followed while laying new roads too. This does not involve huge expenditure and is also easy to follow in case of new road constructions. By embracing such a solution, many wild animals can be saved from meeting with a gory death .

Recognizing the beneficial effect of tunneled paths beneath roads and tracks in saving wild animals, highway/railway authorities should spare a thought and take it up for implementation. This small change, which is not such a burden, would go a long way in saving wild animals and be a real boon in all efforts for their survival.

S Ravindran

Chairman, Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank, Dharwad, Karnataka, India

Comments

  1. Really a noble idea which needs the urgent attention of policy makers. Many a times vehicle drivers do not think about these things. We build over bridges/ fly overs for safety of humans. Poor dumb animals who cannot perceive hazards of traffic and do not understand how to avoid accidents, infact need more careful consideration. Idea of making passages that too in the normal route of their movement can greatly help to save these species. It is worth mentioning that many species of animals are on verge of disappearing due effects of deforestation and urbanization. The article should be eye opener for all concerned.

    1. Bhagwat sir what you said is 100% right. We need to promote innovative, humane idea of Mr Ravindran that will save precious lives of poor animals. RB

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