~ by Aditi Patil
Rapidly growing road networks contribute to a country’s social and economic development, but this contribution comes at a high price that is paid by wildlife. Roads cutting through wild habitat adversely affect animals, with one of the most distinct impacts being Animal-Vehicle Collisions (AVCs). A recent study conducted by researchers at Dr. Bilal Habib's lab at the Wildlife Institute of India examined factors like animal behavior and traffic characteristics that influence AVCs, and how information about these factors can be used to prevent such accidents.
Increased connectivity through roads is critical for development. However, it increases construction of transport infrastructure, often passing through wild habitat. This poses a risk to wildlife. Animals attempting to cross roads often end up in collisions with vehicles. Notably, there are no natural factors of selection governing AVCs, meaning that these accidents occur entirely by chance. Both healthy and unhealthy individuals in animal populations are equally exposed to the risk. This non selective mortality can negatively affect a population through a loss of healthy individuals. Animals may deliberately begin to avoid crossing roads due to AVCs, thus leading to a barrier to movement. Such barriers will result in isolation of animal populations, and in some cases may even lead to the local extinction of species.
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
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