Efforts to provide safe access for wildlife in a key Reserve Forest in Assam

Posted on
01 March 2011
Report highlights measures to mitigate adverse impacts of upgrading Doboka-Silchar National Highway (NH54E)

The Lumding Reserve Forest (RF) located in Assam’s Nagaon district is an important wildlife habitat connecting the Marat-Longri Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) in Karbi Anglong district in the east and to Langting Mupa RF in the west. This continuous stretch of forest is part of a migration route to wildlife, particularly Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Field biologists of WWF-India have recoded 37 species of mammals in Lumding RF, which, apart from the elephant, include the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and western hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) - India’s only ape.

The Doboka-Silchar National Highway (NH-54E) bisects the Lumding RF and it is proposed to be upgraded it into a four-lane highway. The widening of the highway is planned almost in the same alignment of the existing road. Though the existing road does not affect the crossing of elephants and other mammals much, an upgraded four-lane highway will increase vehicles travelling on it and also at a higher speed, which is bound to be unsafe – both for the wild animals as well as people travelling in the vehicles. Therefore, construction of safe passages for wild animals like elephant and gaur is mandatory. Given this, a team supported by WWF-India has surveyed the area and mitigation measures are suggested in the report ‘Ensuring safe access to wildlife in Lumding Reserve Forest, Assam’. The report was released on 28 Feb 2011.

Among the chief mitigation measures proposed in this report to facilitate wildlife movement include construction of appropriate underpasses and culverts for wildlife at identified areas as well as provision of artificial lianas for arboreal mammals. WWF-India believes the implementation of these mitigation measures offers an excellent solution to balance the economic growth of the nation with the necessity to conserve the critical wildlife habitats of India.

Note to Editors:
Photographs are available in high-resolution to accompany press stories based on this release and mentioning WWF- India.
For more information:
Ameen Ahmed, aahmed@wwfindia.net, +91 1141504783 


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