Do we have to build roads and railways by killing tigers?

Building transport infrastructure along tiger habitats would end up making them extinct

Development, more often than not, are gauged by the number of roads and bridges built. The expanding roads and railway networks, and the rapid enhancement of transport infrastructure provide nations with much to cheer about. However, in the process of building infrastructure, certain significant aspects related of wildlife are seldom considered.

An instance in point is a case that has been under study, and it involves the endangered tigers at the Chitwan National Park in Nepal.  The study by researchers at the University of Michigan has predicted that the expansion of roads and a proposed railway would prove to be a body blow to the tigers here. The researchers deployed an advanced simulation model so as to probe into how fast development of transport infrastructure could prove to be a life-threatening venture for the tigers. Seeing it from a larger canvas, the study also throws light into how transport infrastructure development can be a bane to endangered species worldwide.

Expanding roads, railways could push up tiger deaths

The moot point is that expanded roads and railways can push up animal mortality, disrupt habitats, and hike other threats to biodiversity in a hitherto unforeseen manner. As the researchers went about carrying out the probe, they were also able to analyse a scenario of the future where in tigers could die from collisions with vehicles and also from non-availability of prey close to these transport infrastructure projects.

As has been revealed by a report on the study roads and railways could prove to be dramatically increasing tiger deaths. This could happen because there are chances that the big cats could be roaming around spots where vehicles and trains ply. If the situation is taken into account, the forecasts point at increased tiger deaths along the roads and railways. This could also result in “reduction in the tiger population from around 130 animals to just 50 animals over a 20-year period.”

tigers
Images courtesy: Pixabay

Smart Green Infrastructure planning, a must

This is not a small number by any count. An alarming situation is in the offing for the endangered animals and it has become imperative that fast action needs to be rolled out. The researchers have suggested that land planners, researchers, and developers need to make use of planning that adheres to Smart Green Infrastructure. This could mean that it would best to realign roads and railways in such a way that critical tiger habitats can be avoided. Further, traffic volumes and speeds are to be reduced so that impact on tiger biodiversity and also their prey could be brought down.

These suggestions need to be heard by administrations worldwide so that adhering to Smart Green Infrastructure planning is made a norm. Only then would the world still have tigers and also other endangered species. Let’s not kill them for the sake of fast, new-age transport facilities.

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