Chamarajanagar: Forest officials are bracing up for another battle with Kerala over the night traffic ban in the Bandipur National Park on roads leading to it and Tamil Nadu with the Supreme Court setting up an expert panel to look into its demand for it to be lifted.
One road inside the park leads to Waynad in Kerala and another to Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
Since 2009 traffic has been banned from 9 pm to 6 am on these roads to stop the road kills of wild animals.
Now, Bandipur forest officials are apprehensive about the expert panel as they say the night traffic ban has helped save the lives of animals in the park. While between 2004 and 2008 as many as 91 wild animals, including a tiger, an elephant and two bears were killed in road accidents, since 2009 when the ban came into effect, only 34 wild animals have been killed.
Significantly, there have been no reports of a tiger or an elephant being run over. Except for a leopard being killed in 2017 no big cat has been run over, say forest sources.
“We vehemently oppose opening up vehicular traffic in the Bandipur National Park,” says a forest official.
His subordinate in one of the ranges, in fact, wants a 12-hour traffic ban, from 6 pm to 6 am for the safety of the animals.
“Many vehicles rush through the park at the last minute and chances of wild animals being knocked down by speeding vehicles using high beam headlights at this time are high and so it would be better if the traffic was stopped earlier in the evening, “ he argues.