Saving wildlife from becoming roadkill

LETTERS: One of the attributes of a caring society is its humane treatment of animals. When human activities, such as forest clearing, displace animals in the wild, it is our duty to protect them from such threats.

In recent years, animals, particularly tapirs, have been mowed down by speeding motorists while crossing highways. Such incidents are most prevalent near forest reserves.

These incidents were preventable and would not have happened if we had taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety. There are many ways in which we can protect wildlife.

One effective way is to place more appropriate road signs. We already have road signs warning of the proximity of monkeys, buffaloes and tapirs. In other countries, these signs usually say "Caution: Animals Crossing".

That is being people-centric. We need to be animal-centric and say something like "Give Way: Animal Crossing".

That way, we emphasise the safety of the animals. We need to identify more suitable sites for the creation of animal crossings.

Other ways are to erect speed bumps or rumble strips. The Wildlife and National Parks Department should be made custodians of these measures. Its approval must be made mandatory when designing and building roads in or near forest reserves.

In this respect, the department should work closely with the Public Works Department. Animals in the wild play a crucial role in the dispersal of seeds of fruits and trees, thereby helping nature and its inhabitants preserve the ecosystem.

They are essential players in the circle of life. Moreover, the animals were in the forests first. They deserve better treatment. If we encroach into their habitat, the least we can do is to help them migrate safely to safety. It is, therefore, our bounden duty to help the helpless.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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