Chain-link fence to curb wild animals to access NH-48

Gurugram: The wildlife department of Gurugram is installing a fence along the National Highway (NH-48) adjoining Manesar where sighting of wild animals is common with instances of them getting run over by speeding vehicles, officials said on Monday.

Wildlife officials said after a three-month-long survey and inspection carried out by their team last year, they had identified a 6.6-km stretch on the NH-48 between National Security Guard (NSG) and Panchgaon crossing, where wildlife spotting is rampant.

The chain-link fence, a mesh made of iron, will prevent animals from accessing the highway, thereby reducing the rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions, said officials.

MS Malik, the chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said that they had marked the spots from where regular sightings were reported. “The new fence will not harm wildlife but restrict their access on the busy road. Earlier, there was no fence installed on the stretch, posing threat to wildlife. We identified the spots from where maximum wildlife sightings were reported and that were close to human habitats. We installed poles on a 3.5-km stretch on both sides of the highway and placed a fence last week for the safety of wildlife,” he said.

Officials said that at least three leopards lost their lives while attempting to cross the highway in the last five years.

Malik said the area is adjacent to the Aravallis and is home to a large variety of wildlife. “Leopards and hyenas are regularly spotted on the stretch and the highest leopard occupancy in the Aravallis is in Gurugram and Faridabad. We have also installed boards at 10 points on both sides of the road, cautioning vehicles to go slow and watch out for wild animals,” he added.

Rajesh Chahal, a wildlife inspector, said that the fencing will help stop animals from moving towards the road.

The Aravallis has a high concentration of wild animals such as leopards, hyenas, jackals, wolves, foxes, jungle cats, wild pigs, nilgais, etc, said officials.

Chahal said they often receive calls regarding leopard sightings from Kasan, Sehrawan, Manesar and Naurangpur. “The villagers are on alert at night and report to wildlife officials in case they spot any wildlife,” he said.

Chetan Agarwal, a forest analyst said, “Chain-link fencing is safer and longer lasting than barbed wires. Fencing combined with multiple animal-friendly underpasses may help wild animals cross the highway safely”.

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