Have you ever been to Baruipur through the Southern Bypass? If yes, you must have seen the Bengal Monitor Lizard crossing the bypass road slowly. Trucks, cars, and bikes pass by this Monitor Lizard crossing the road throughout the day and at least one monitor lizard gets crushed by a running car every week.
The Monitor lizards are carnivorous and non-poisonous. There are 31 species on the planet, four Monitor lizards are from India – the Bengal monitor, the two-banded monitor, the desert monitor, and the yellow monitor lizard. All are imperiled species and are secured under Schedule I species of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
I am Jayanta Guha, a wildlife photographer, and conservationist. For the last few months I am living in Baruipur and I have had to take this southern bypass often, I have found at least two or three smashed monitor lizards on the road every week.
What is the reason behind crushing on the monitor lizard?
Southern bypass, roads are smooth, and you can speed up your vehicle to reach your destination. However, there are many sharp turns that you have to notice.
It’s not possible for every driver to recognize them from a long distance while the lizard is crossing the road, also because of the sharp turns.
The second reason is road lights. Although light posts are there on both sides of the road, not a single light exists in those posts. While driving at night, in this 21 kilometers(Distance of Southern bypass) you can only count on the lights coming from the shops beside the road along with the headlights of your cars. Needless to say, the number of shops is very few.
Last but not the least, traffic control. From Kamalgazi flyover to Baruipur, you will see traffic posts and traffic guards are there. However, when you are coming from Baruipur to Kamalgazi, there is no traffic guard. Therefore, people are breaking traffic rules and driving rashly.
It’s a developing area. While constructing new housing complexes, shopping outlets, etc, basically we are destroying the jungle on both sides of the road. As a result, these animals are coming out on the road and being brutally crushed.
An eyewitness Encounter
It was last week around 2 PM, I was going to Kamalganji and after that, I had to visit a nearby Waterland for birding. I saw a huge adult Monitor Lizard in the middle of the Bypass road and the head was completely smashed by a car. I stopped my scooter. All the cars and bikes were passing by this big one. I left that place as I was in a hurry as well. But, I kept on thinking about that incident while riding. As it was in the middle of the road, if any other bike or car appears in a rush and runs over it by any chance, an accident is inevitable.
I completed my work as fast as possible and got back to the place within 30 minutes. It was still there, no one cared. I was with my camera and lenses. I parked the scooter beside the road and started clicking some images because there was nothing I could do. All the trucks, cars, bikes, and other vehicles were passing by continuously. After 5 minutes, I stopped one bike rider and asked him to stop other coming vehicles, so that I could move that poor creature. He agreed and also helped me out by moving the Monitor lizard beside the road.
It’s vice versa
Now, think about it from a different point of view. What if it was a night and not a daylight situation? What if we have not moved that monitor lizard from the middle of the road? At least one bike would have run over the stiff dead creature and a certain accident was about to happen. I have mentioned about only one day, but it happens every day and night.
What’s the solution to avoid the accident of The Water Monitor Lizard?
Baruipur is an extended part of Kolkata, previously it was part of South 24 Parganas. The development of this area is still in progress.
They have just created this bypass road, but it has to be maintained in a proper way.
Lights should be installed on both sides of the road.
The traffic system needs to be further improved.
We have to drive more consciously on the road and have to see if there are any animals crossing the road.
We have to leave some greenery on both sides of the road for these animals, so they won’t come out on the road.
People need to be made more aware of conservation