India's tiger corridor is home to one sixth of the entire population (dreamstime)

Four-lane highway to threaten tiger population

5th December 2011

The proposed expansion of India's National Highway has sparked outrage amongst conservationists, as the four-lane road threatens a crucial tiger habitat

The proposal to expand India's National Highway to a four-lane road has been vigorously rejected by conservationists, claiming the development threatens to impose on the Nagzira-Nawegaon, a crucial habitat for India's endangered tigers. Work to expand the highway had already begun, but was halted by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), until the appropriate mitigation measures are put in place.

An 85km stretch of the highway passes through the tiger corridor, considered to be one of the most important landscapes for tigers in the world, home to one-sixth of the entire tiger population. The corridor consists of two narrow strips of forest running almost parallel, connecting Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in the north, and Nawegaon National Park in the South; it runs through nine tiger reserves.

The National Highway Authority of India attempted to appease conservationists by suggesting that a three metre high underpass be built for the animals to cross under, with chain link fences set up to compel animals to walk under the highway, instead of across it.

This recommendation was not approved by conservationists as it would require narrowing down the corridor even further, leaving only a few small places for animals to pass, and with no real guarantee the animals would not attempt to cross the highway.

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