Monday, 13 August 2012

130 turtles trapped by railway line in India

Railways and roads create deadly barriers for some wildlife
July 2012. Conservationists working on the Wildlife Trust of India's WTI's project to mitigate elephant mortality due to train hits found a total of 128 turtles trapped on the 33 km long railway track stretch in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
128 turtles trapped - 30 dead
Subrat Behera from the Wildlife Trust of India says the turtles climbed on to the track over the levelling pebbles and were trapped between the two rails, unable to climb out. Out of the 128 individuals, 30 were dead and the rest were found struggling to escape. These live turtles were collected and released in the nearby water body called Tiger Taal.
Across the globe, railway tracks and highways cut across forests and are a cause of large number of animal deaths every year.
Smaller numbers of large animals cause outrage
"The larger animals, like elephants and tigers in India, when involved in such accidents evoke great public outrage. There is research on mitigation measures to prevent these but smaller animals die in much larger numbers. There are no studies to show the number of casualties or species affected," says Behera.
In Dudhwa, the presence of two rivers, Suheli and Mohana, and several standing water bodies provide suitable habitat to turtles. A lot of these water bodies are present in the vicinity of the railway tracks. The life cycle of freshwater turtles include terrestrial movements such as nesting migrations and some to avoid unfavourable environmental conditions. During the nesting season female turtles leave wetlands and may have to cross roads and railway tracks in search of suitable nesting areas.

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