New Delhi, January 23, 2018: Road accidents involving wildlife are emerging as a major cause of wildlife deaths in India, with thousands of animals being affected annually.
With the recent death of the beloved dominant male tiger T2/Bajirao of Bor Tiger Reserve, the impact of roadkills is being widely noticed. Wildlife roadkills are associated with the habitat fragmentation that linear infrastructure elements such as roads cause; casualties can result in the decline of wildlife populations, inbreeding, and even local extinctions of endangered wildlife.
Available on Google’s Play Store or www.roadwatchers.org.
To address this issue, Wildlife Trust of India and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation have launched a mobile application called RoadWatch to help citizens report wildlife roadkills easily using their smartphones from anywhere in the country. The app can be download from Google’s Play Store or www.roadwatchers.org.
The app has been designed to gather necessary data such as photographic records, GPS location, type of animal, date of record etc. The interface is easy to use and allows users to acquire and transmit the data in less than a minute, with minimal effort. “The idea was to build a user friendly and reliable system to collect roadkill information with a high degree of accuracy”, said Wildlife Trust of India’s Jose Louies.
“This application will help in mapping roadkill hotspots, identifying the worst affected species and assessing the efficacy of existing mitigation measures”, said Radhika Bhagat, a wildlife researcher working on the project. The gathered data will be open source. This will potentially assist in the better planning of linear infrastructure such as roads.
WTI and DSWF are also planning to initiate a nationwide ‘I brake for wildlife’ campaign with the aim of developing awareness about and gradually reducing the incidence of wildlife roadkills across the country.