Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 May 2019 | 11(7): 13868–13874

 

Roadkill of animals on the road passing from Kalaburagi to Chincholi, Karnataka, India

 

Shankerappa Shantveerappa Hatti 1 & Heena Mubeen 2

 

1,2Department of Studies and Research in Zoology, Gulbarga University, Rajapur Road, Kalaburagi, Karnataka 585106, India.

1hattishankerappa@gmail.com (corresponding author), 2heenamubeen323@gmail.com

 

Abstract: The road passing from Kalaburagi to Chincholi in Karnataka, India, is around 70km and is a state highway having different types of moderately thick vegetation on either side.  The animals utilizing this vegetation face huge threats from vehicular traffic, as was observed in recent years.  Although this road does not have heavy traffic, there are significant numbers of roadkills.  This study was conducted from February 2015 to January 2016.  During the one-year period of the study, the mean frequency of heavy vehicles was 154 per day.  Among the 283 roadkills recorded, 52 individuals belonged to the class Amphibia, constituting 18.37% of the total roadkills; no amphibian was killed in the summer season whereas 35 and 17 individuals were killed in the rainy season and in the winter season, respectively.  Fifty-two individuals belonged to the class Reptilia, constituting 18.37% of the total roadkills; on an average, 10±5.8 individuals were killed in the summer season, 2.5±0.71 in the rainy season, and 3.5±2.12 in the winter season.  Sixty-one individuals belonged to the class Aves, constituting 21.55% of the total roadkills; on an average, 5.71±3.03 individuals were killed in the summer season, 2.66±2.08 in the rainy season, and 4.33±3.51 in the winter season.  One-hundred-and-eighteen individuals belonged to the class Mammalia, which was the most affected among the roadkills, constituting 41.69% of the total roadkills; on an average, 5.33±5.08 individuals were killed in the summer season, 5±3.9 in the rainy season, and 4.6±2.7 in the winter season.  Under the IUCN Red List category, the majority of the species in this study are considered Least Concern and some of them are not even mentioned.  The present study helps to know the problems and threats faced by wild animals and is the first work carried out in the region.

 

Keywords: Mammalia, seasonality, vehicular traffic.

 

doi: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4292.11.7.13868-13874  |  ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:C5CB6F23-6EA6-47C9-9790-B0249E060345

 

Editor: V. Gokula, National College, Tiruchirappalli, India.     Date of publication: 26 May 2019 (online & print)

 

Manuscript details: #4292 | Received 24 May 2018 | Final received 25 April 2019 | Finally accepted 12 May 2019

 

Citation: Hatti, S.S. & H. Mubeen (2019). Roadkill of animals on the road passing from Kalaburagi to Chincholi, Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11(7): 13868–13874. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4292.11.7.13868-13874

 

Copyright: © Hatti & Mubeen 2019. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.

 

Funding: None.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Author Details: Dr. Shankerappa Shantveerappa Hatti Presently working as Honorary Wildlife Warden Of Kalaburagi District and Associate  Professor in Department of Studies and Research in Zoology, Government College, area of interest: wildlife diversity, avian diversity vermitechnology and molluscan diversity.  Heena Mubeen is a research schloar, Department of Studies and Research in Zoology, Gulbarga University, area of interest: earthworm diversity and vermitechnology.

 

Author Contribution: SSH - funding, planning, field work and manuscript writing; HM - assistance for this work.

 

Acknowledgements: We are sincerely thankful to the DFO, Kalaburagi, for his encouragement to carry out this work.

 

INTRODUCTION

Roads negatively impact animals in a variety of ways, one of the most obvious impacts being vehicle-induced mortality (Trombulak & Frissell 2000; Spellerberg 2002; Das et al. 2007; Sheshadri et al. 2009).  The effects range from habitat loss and fragmentation (Richardson et al. 1997) to affecting wild animal distribution pattern, movement, breeding, and density (Reijnen et al. 1995).  The taxa affected range from amphibians (Fahrig et al. 1995; Seshadri et al. 2009) to reptiles (Rosen & Low 1994; Drews 1995; Gokula 1997; Das et al. 2007) to birds (Drews 1995; Reijnen et al. 1995) and mammals (Drews 1995; Newmark et al. 1996; Richardson et al. 1997).  More attention has been given in North America, Australia, Europe, and Africa to assess such impacts, but Asia has not paid the required attention to this aspect (Baskaran & Boominathan 2010).  Recent development activities such as increase in the number of highways, vehicular traffic, and widening of roads are the prime reason for the destruction of wildlife and their habitats (Gokula 1997; Gruisen 1998; Vijayakumar et al. 2001; Das et al. 2007).  Therefore, non-governmental organizations and conservationists in India are protesting against the construction of new roads and also the upgrading or widening of existing roads, especially in protected areas (Baskaran & Boominathan 2010).  The present paper is the first account of roadkill from Hyderabad–Karnataka region.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study Area

Chincholi Konchavaram Forest is situated around 8km away from our study area, which is the wildlife sanctuary of southern Indian dry forest which is at par with the Western Ghats of Karnataka.  Kalaburagi is called Sun City because of its high temperature, and as we move towards Chincholi the temperature comparatively drops because of rich vegetation.  The average rainfall and temperature of Kalaburagi are 200mm and 340C, respectively.  The average rainfall and temperature of Chincholi are 887mm and 27.10C, respectively.  Our study area lies between Kalaburagi (17.3290N & 76.8340E; 454m) and Chincholi (17.4610N & 77.4190E; 462m), covering a distance of 70km and having a width of 45m (SH-10 from Gulbarga University to Madbul, SH-125 from Madbul to Kodla cross, SH- 32 from Kodla cross to Chincholi).  About 5km of the SH-10 has crop fields on either side while the remaining stretch has scrub jungles.  Further, the SH-125 road stretch has crop fields on either side and a small part of the road has scrub jungles.  Most of the road stretch of SH-32 has thick vegetation on either side; some of the area is dominated by palm vegetation.  The entire 70km of the road passes through 13 villages.  The vegetation present on either side of the road consists of the following plant species, namely, Eucalyptus globules, Ficus benghalensis, F. religiosa, Azardirachta indica, Phoenix sylvestris, Capparis spp., Albizia lebbeck, Pithecellobium dulce, Peltophorus pterocarpum, Acacia nilotica, Prorosopis julifora, Pongamia pinnata, Ailianthus excelsa, Calotropis spp., Euphorbia toucan, Vitex negundo,and Cassia auriculata.

 

Methods

Sampling was carried out from February 2015 to January 2016 on the road from Kalaburagi to Chincholi via Madbul, covering a distance of 70km (Fig. 1).  We surveyed the road in a Thar Jeep systematically from 07.00h to 10.00h at a speed of 15–20 km/h.  The entire road was surveyed in one stretch, four times a month on holidays so as to avoid inconvenience to the traffic.  The road kill encountered were recorded and the overall percentage of mortality was calculated season-wise.

Traffic flow was studied 12 times a year, i.e., on a Monday of every month during our study period (Monday was selected to record traffic flow due to high traffic intensity on that day).  The traffic intensity was recorded manually as the mean number of vehicles on the road in each 1-hour interval around 24 hours.  Traffic flow, type of vehicle, and their movement per day were calculated.

Images of dead animals were taken, and the dead animals were removed from the road to avoid repetition.  The recorded roadkills were categorized and noted according to the type of vegetation.  Identification was done using field guides (Grimmett et al. 1998; Daniel 2002; Menon 2003).  No preservation was done during our survey.

 

RESULTS

Traffic flow in our study area was not very high around the year.  Traffic flow recorded during the period of February 2015–January 2016 reveals that the mean frequency of vehicles was 154 per day (24h).  The maximum contribution to the traffic flow was made by light vehicles (59%) and the minimum contribution by heavy vehicles (41%) (Table 1; Fig. 2).

During our study period, 283 individuals belonging to 26 species were recorded.  Among these, Amphibia and Reptilia constituted 18.37% each, Aves 21.55%, and Mammalia 41.69% (Fig. 3).

Among the 52 recorded individuals of the class Amphibia (Table 2), one species was Duttaphrynus melanostictus; the other group of frogs was unidentified.  In summer, no amphibians were found killed; 35 individuals were killed in the rainy season and 12 in the winter season (Table 3).

Among the 52 recorded individuals of the class Reptilia (Table 2), the highest number of kills was of Chamaeleo zeylanicus,followed by Varanus flavescens, Calotes versicolor,and Ptyas mucosa;the least number of kills was of Xenochrophis pisicator.  Chameleons are very common in this area and are not found in any other talukas of Kalaburagi District.  Seasonally, on an average, 10±5.8 reptiles were killed in the summer season—the highest number of roadkills among all seasons, followed by 3.5±2.12 in the winter season, and the lowest of 2.5±0.71 in the rainy season (Table 3; Images 1–16).

The 61 recorded individuals of the class Aves belonged to six species (Table 2).  Centropus sinensis was frequently found killed in road collisions (20 individuals), followed by Spilopelia senegalensis, Aegithina tiphia, Corvus splendens, Columba livia,and Streptopelia capicola.  Ten individuals of birds were unidentified.  On average, the highest number of roadkills of birds was in the summer season with 5.71±3.03 individuals, followed by 4.33±3.51 in the winter season and the lowest of  2.66±2.08 in the rainy season (Table 3).

Among all the classes, Mammalia had the highest number of roadkills with 107 individuals belonging to 17 species (Table 2), which makes 41.69%.  Out of the 107 individuals of mammals killed, the highest killed were Semnopithecus dussumieri and Canis lupus familiaris with 20 individuals each; followed by Hystrix indica and Lariscus insignis with 15 individuals each; Viverricula indica, Herpestes edwardsii,and Lepus nigricollis with six individuals each; Paradoxurus hermaphrodites with five individuals; Felis chaus with four individuals;and Rattus norvegicus and Sus scrofa with three individuals each.  The least killed were Canis lupus and Vulpes vulpes with two individuals eachSeason-wise average roadkill of mammals is 5.33±5.08 in the summer season, 5±3.9 in the rainy season, and 4.6±2.7 in the winter season (Table 3).  In our observation, no Hanuman Langur was killed in the summer season, which may be due to very high temperature of nearly 40ºC which restricts the species movement on the road.  According to the local Hindu tradition, burial of monkeys is carried out by the local people by performing rituals as performed for humans, for they consider the species sacred (as an avatar of Hanuman).

 

DISCUSSION

In our present study, greater mortality was observed in amphibians due to their slow moving behaviour.  This was also true with the findings of Bhaskaran & Bhoominathan (2010).  Our results are true only with amphibians.   Among reptiles, however, except snakes and lizards, the rest were killed in all seasons.  Since snakes and lizards have the habit of basking on the road during winter months, their roadkill incidents were more in the winter season.  Our observations are similar to that of Vijayakumar et al. (2001).

Granivorous birds were killed while feeding on grains spread on either side of the road whereas insectivorous and carnivorous birds were killed while feeding on any live or dead animals found on the road.

Among mammals, comparatively higher mortality was found in the case of Hanuman Langurs due to their social habits and human-modified behaviours.  They have the habit of keeping themselves close to roads and performing all their activities without bothering much about speeding vehicles.  During fighting and chasing, they collide with vehicles and get injured or die as reported by Ramesh (2013).

Most of the mammalian species killed on the road as recorded in the present study are nocturnal in habit (Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Indian Grey Mongoose, Grey Wolf, and Red Fox).  Porcupine is nocturnal and insectivorous and gets killed while feeding on insects on roads.  Wild Boars and Indian Hares are killed while crossing roads (Baskaran & Boominathan 2010).  The composition of the roadkills varied according to vegetation.  Mammalian mortality was high in areas where there was thick vegetation on either side of the road (Selvan et al. 2012)—there was a tendency for mammals to get killed in dense forests (Clevenger & Kociolek 2003).

 

CONCLUSIONS

Our results show that the average roadkill in the area was 23.58% every month. Human development activities are directly related to the increase in the number of roadkills (Gokula 1997).  As a precautionary measure, visibility on either side of the road should be increased by clearing bushes; this helps the driver to avoid accidents.  Other measures such as shining signboards, street lights, and speed-breakers can minimize the roadkill of large-bodied animals or small amphibians and reptiles (Selvan  et al. 2012).

 

Table 1. Traffic flow (number of vehicles per day) on S-10, SH-125, and SH-32
from Kalaburagi to Chincholi in Karnataka, India, during the study period of
February 2015–January 2016.

 

Months

Mean number of vehicles per day

Total

Heavy vehicles

Light vehicles

February

60

90

150

March

62

94

156

April

61

98

159

May

65

97

162

June

60

94

154

July

64

94

158

August

62

93

155

September

64

91

155

October

65

89

154

November

67

88

155

December

61

83

144

January

60

87

147

Annual total

751

1098

1849

 

 

 

Table 2. Overall roadkills recorded during February 2015–January 2016
in the study area showing various species of roadkills.

 

 

Class

Common name of the species

Scientific name of the species

Number of individuals killed

Red List status

1

Amphibia

Black-spectacled Toad

Duttaphrynus melanostictus

25

Least Concern

2

Unidentified frogs

 

27

-

3

Reptilia

Yellow Monitor

Varanus flavescens

11

Least Concern

4

Dhaman

Ptyas mucosa

05

Not mentioned in the Red Book

5

Water Snake

Xenochrophis pisicator

03

Not mentioned in the Red Book

6

Unidentified snakes

 

06

-

7

Common Garden Lizard

Calotes versicolor

11

Not mentioned in the Red Book

8

Asian Chameleon

Chamaeleo zeylanicus

16

Least Concern

9

 

 

Aves

 

Greater Coucal

Centropus sinensis

20

Least Concern

10

Laughing Dove

Spilopelia senegalensis

09

Least Concern

11

Ring-necked Dove

Streptopelia capicola

03

Least Concern

12

Common Lora

Aegithina tiphia

08

Least Concern

13

House Crow

Corvus splendens

06

Least Concern

14

Rock Dove

Columba livia

05

Least Concern

15

Unidentified birds

 

10

-

16

Mammalia

Small Indian Civet 

Viverricula indica

06

Least Concern

17

Jungle Cat

Felis chaus

04

-

18

Asian Palm Civet

Paradoxurus hermaphrodites

05

-

19

Grey Wolf

Canis lupus

02

Least Concern

20

Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

02

Least Concern

21

Domestic/ Feral Dog

Canis lupus familiaris

20

Not mentioned in the Red Book

22

Indian Grey Mongoose

Herpestes edwardsii

06

Least Concern

23

Indian Crested Porcupine

Hystrix indica

15

Least Concern

24

Brown Rat

Rattus norvegicus

03

Least Concern

25

Wild Pig

Sus scrofa

03

Least Concern

26

Indian Hare

Lepus nigricollis

06

Least Concern

27

Three-striped Ground Squirrel

Lariscus insignis

15

Least Concern

28

Southern Plain Grey Langur

Semnopithecus hypoleucos

20

Least Concern

 

 

Table 3. Season-wise mean roadkill recorded in the study area.

 

Season 

 Class

Summer

Rainy

Winter

Amphibia

0

35

12

Reptilia

10±5.8

2.5±0.71

3.5±2.12

Aves

5.71±3.035

2.66±2.08

4.33±3.51

Mammalia

5.33±5.08

5±3.9

4.6±2.7

 

For figures & images – click here­

 

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