Animal activists and social workers have been installing signboards in the vicinity of Karnala bird sanctuary in Panvel in a bid to enforce safety for the wild species. Accidents on the Mumbai-Goa highway near the bird sanctuary in the past have killed many animals, as claimed by the activists. The Pankh Foundation in Pen and the Hands That Heal Animal Care Foundation have initiated a campaign known as ‘Chalo Karnala.’
A social worker by the name Saikat Majumdar spoke about the drastically increasing deaths of animals while interacting with The Times Of India. He mentioned that the sanctuary located about 70 km from the city of Mumbai was completely safe for the wildlife. However, with the construction of the national highway through the Karnala bird sanctuary, an increased number of deaths of animals, monkeys in particular, have been observed. Talking on behalf of the campaign’s team, Majumdar mentioned, “We are raising awareness and asking motorists to not stop on the highway to feed wild animals.”
He pointed out that passing motorists throw away edibles on the busy highway. This leads to monkeys risking their lives to eat the food items. In addition to posing a life threat to the animals, this road behaviour is also illegal, claimed Majumdar. He went on to speak about the impact of these abnormal foods on monkeys, saying that the animals are not looking for food in their natural habitat as much as they would, disturbing the environmental balance. Feeding wild animals is a felonious offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Hitting, molesting, teasing or killing animals is a legally punishable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960 Act.
On Sunday morning, a group of social activists from Konkan Katta and the Gram Samvardhan Samajik Sanstha formed a human chain and organised a day-long awareness campaign to raise awareness for the safety of fauna in and around the sanctuary.
Campaign coordinator Santosh Thakur told the portal that the highway along the stretch of the sanctuary reports an animal’s death every day due to road mishaps. He asserted that the group will resort to protests if the demands are not met within a month. A few of the demands sought by them include CCTV installation, laying rumblers on highway stretch, availing medical facilities for wildlife at the sanctuary and action against those feeding wildlife.