Erode: A one-year-old leopard was found dead, apparently knocked down by a speeding car on Monday night on the Thimbam ghat road stretch of the Sathyamangalam-Mysuru highway in the Sathyamangalam tiger reserve (STR), drawing the greens’ ire over allowing heavy vehicles on that stretch at nights.
With STR abounding in an assortment of wild animals including tigers, leopards, elephants, deer and the Indian wild bison and so on, State Forest authorities have, as a safety measure, restricted motor vehicles traffic on this stretch abutting the sanctuary area to avoid traffic congestions on the ghat road and reckless driving by motorists hurting or even killing wildlife inadvertently.
Accordingly, sources said that two-wheelers are allowed on this stretch between 6 am and 6 pm, and heavy vehicles including cars between 6 am and 9 pm daily. As the Thimbam hill road connects Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, vehicular traffic is usually heavy on the stretch and hence only public transport buses and cars are allowed to use that road between 9 pm and 6 am in the morning, sources said.
However, on Monday, reckless driving by an unidentified four-wheeler during the night had knocked down a leopard. On information early on Tuesday, forest staff from Bhavanisagar rushed to the spot, retrieved the carcass of the leopard and after a post-mortem there, have cremated it. Further investigations are on.
But this has again raised concerns over allowing four-wheelers on that stretch during night hours. Bhavanisagar forest circle ranger G Johnson, said drivers should steer their vehicles carefully to avoid fatal hits at wildlife, and warned of severe action against erring drivers. He also said more speed breakers are needed in that section.
K Kalidasan, who heads the green NGO, ‘Osai’, nonetheless demanded that except for government transport buses and vehicles carrying essential articles, no other vehicle should be allowed on the Thimbam ghat road during nights. In particular, plying of private vehicles should be banned if such killings of wild animals are to be avoided, he added....