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Forest Department Proposes Additional Elephant Underpasses on Highway

Forest Department Proposes Additional Elephant Underpasses On Mangaluru Bengaluru Highway

The Mangaluru division of the forest department has put forward plans for two new elephant underpasses along the national highway connecting Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Anthony S Mariyappa, deputy conservator of forests (DCF) for the Mangaluru division, mentioned that they currently have three underpasses on the NHAI stretch at Periyashanti, Rekhya, and Addahole, and are proposing two more at Udane and Ichilampady.

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Mariyappa explained, “We provided three potential locations and asked the forest department to select any two for the underpasses. However, due to the ongoing project, altering it without government approval might not be feasible. We’ve asked NHAI for as much support as possible.” The construction of retaining walls along the elephant corridor impedes their movement, potentially diverting them into new areas like plantations.

He added, “Previously, elephants would cross over at night, but with the retention walls, it may become difficult. Having more underpasses at regular intervals could offer them an easy escape route, mitigating issues caused by road widening and walls.”

In recent years, elephants have faced significant threats due to NHAI roads and capture exercises. Fire incidents in Bisle and Mudigere have also displaced them, highlighting the dangers posed by road projects and human interventions.

The forest department is actively working on mitigation measures to minimize human-elephant conflicts. Mariyappa emphasized, “In the future, we hope NHAI will consult the forest department more extensively in their projects, including necessary actions for wildlife protection.”

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