What is the issue ?
- Wildlife species in general and tigers in particular are under the threat of being driven to extinction due to road and rail crossings throughout the country.
About the issue :
- National and State highways cut through atleast 26 tiger reserves.
- Leopards, snakes, deer, desert fox, golden jackals, civets and critically endangered amphibians are among the wildlife that perish on roads in States as far flung as Assam, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Why do tigers traverse long distances ?
- For tigers, like many other species, traversing large areas to move across habitats involves crossing of roads. This is the only way they can ensure genetic diversity, which is vital for species survival.
What is harming the tiger population ?
- Human settlements and traffic intensity — which restrict tiger movement between populations — decrease genetic exchange the most.
- Unplanned expansion of national highways without mitigation measures (such as underpasses created for wildlife) could greatly increase the probability of tiger extinction in Central India’s protected areas, home to one of the largest tiger populations.
Major causes of wildlife death :
- Unplanned development
- Religious tourism which is concentrated across few months of the year.
- Illegal poaching activities
- National and State highways cutting across the protected areas