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Maharashtra roads ‘deadliest for big cat’

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONALI TELANG
Published : Jan 14, 2018, 3:37 am IST
Updated : Jan 14, 2018, 3:37 am IST

Twelve leopards were killed in mishaps in 2017 alone — the highest among all the states, according to the data.

Maharashtra was the deadliest state for leopards in terms of road and train accidents, as per data by the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
 Maharashtra was the deadliest state for leopards in terms of road and train accidents, as per data by the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

Mumbai: Maharashtra was the deadliest state for leopards in terms of road and train accidents, as per data by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) from last year to January 3, 2018.

Twelve leopards were killed in mishaps in 2017 alone — the highest among all the states, according to the data. Wildlife experts have attributed this to rampant destruction of wildlife habitats due to road construction and highway projects along the state’s forests.

While the number of leopard deaths in the state in 2017 dropped to 40 from the preceding year’s 46, the number of deaths due to accidents has increased to 100 per cent since 2013. “The leopard is not the kind of animal to launch attacks unless provoked. Development projects should be implemented considering the leopard movements in the forest area. Proper scrutiny of such areas should be done before cutting off forest space, so that leopards are not sacrificed due to human intervention,” said Tito Joseph, programme coordinator, WPSI.

Mr Joseph added that the number of leopard deaths caused by accidents is same as that of natural deaths in the state last year, which depicts the vulnerable condition of leopards in their own natural habitats.

 Krishna Tiwari, an environmentalist and former Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) official, maintained that there should be regulation of speed limits and provision of boards displaying the area as leopard crossing zone, where the big cats are found to frequently stray. .     

Tags: development projects