Animal Roadkill – A Peril

Dead rat snake on the road.

Year after year, thousands of animals get flattened by speeding vehicles—ranging from the smallest lizard to the largest elephant. It is a lesser-known conservation problem, one that needs immediate addressing. 

Big animals gain recognition when run over. A dead elephant or tiger is worthy of reporting. But smaller creatures, like snakes, lizards, and scorpions, are overlooked.

Roads bifurcate two tracts of forests. They act as barriers between wildlife populations, ones that are risky to cross. In a desperate attempt to reach the other side, animals bustle into oncoming traffic. Quite literally like ‘a deer caught in the headlights’, they freeze and thus, get mowed down.

Dead Checkered Keelback snake run over by vehicles. Shot in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Snake Roadkill

These mishaps happen on a larger scale at night. Due to less traffic, people drive at high speeds, heightening the risk of roadkill.

I have come across roadkill victims almost everywhere I travel. I photograph these incidents to shed light on this pressing issue. 

Dead Lizard run over by vehicles. Shot in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Lizard Roadkill

Big animals do gain recognition when run over. A dead elephant or tiger is worthy of reporting. But smaller creatures, like snakes, lizards, and scorpions, are overlooked. For they are insignificant in the larger scheme of things, it would seem.

In some places, wildlife crossings are set up that help animals pass over roads safely. These are designed as overpasses or underpasses that direct the wildlife away from traffic (Watch a video about it here).

There is also a citizen science initiative to document the occurrence of wildlife roadkills across India. The aim is to understand which species are most vulnerable and where. (Read about it here).

Dead Scorpion run over by vehicles. Shot in Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
Scorpion Roadkill

Many lives will be saved as a result of raising awareness. I hope we keep our eyes peeled as we drive through the woods. One of the simplest steps we should take is adhering to speed limits.

Understand more about wildlife crossing here

Check out my post on how the threat to roadkill led to the Night Traffic ban on NH 766 that runs through Bandipur Tiger Reserve, and how that future of that ban is murky (Click here).

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Published by Ishan Shanavas

I am an 18 year old, based out of Bangalore, India.

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