Making way for the tiger

The Rajiv Gandhi National Park in Karnataka, better known as Nagarahole - is part of a vital tiger habitat. 
A 10 kilometre stretch of road running through it was in the process of being upgraded with World Bank funds. But while convenient for humans this did cause problems - it disturbed the animals and there was always the threat of wildlife being hit by vehicles.

"After the road was upgraded, the speed on the road increased. It is the main road to Calicut so there were heavy vehicles on this road - lorries, buses - through the day and night," said A.V. Satheesh,Forest Range Officer, Antharasanthe.

Praveen Bhargav, member, Wildlife Board of India said, "There is worldwide scientific consensus that roads cause a tremendous negative impact on these areas." After appeals from conservationists, the World Bank clarified its commitment to preserving the habitats of endangered species such as tigers in Karnataka and did not ultimately fund the particular stretch of road.

Then it was decided to close the road to the public - on the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court."Because there is less disturbance there is much more movement of wild animals," Satheesh added . Conservationists hope that this can set a precedent in tiger reserves around the country - and they are encouraged by decisions taken at a National Board for Wildlife meeting held a few weeks ago.


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