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Thursday, November 1, 2018

stray animals .... cows .. n.. hippos on the road !!!

As a social service Organisation fighting to improve civic amenities,  we often have to take up with authorities for relaying roads as there many potholes, especially after rains.  We have also  been highlighting the cattle menace in Triplicane – sometimes they are rather menacing and harm people.   Apart from the bovine, there is stray dogs, cats and sometimes horses too.   There are  the  domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus)  too.  Nearer Vivekananda College in Mylapore one commonly sights donkeys.  The other day, driving in mid-noon passing through Mandaiveli Bus stand, Devanathan Street – nearer Mandaiveli Post Office – I was baffled by the lazy gait .... it was not expected to be there on the middle of the road (I told myself – so did a couple of baffled onlookers)  - it was of  ‘genus Dromaius’ - the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus – the Emu.

Some would take pleasure in telling that only in India, one would find such stray animals ambling across in roads and in foreign countries such things would not occur.  Here is something read on Daily Mail of 11th May 2015.

Coned off roads are the bane of millions of angry motorists furious by the gridlock and delays they cause. Yet more than four out of ten lane closures on England’s motorways and major roads are caused by vehicle break-downs – rather than roadworks – with unsupervised children, thoughtless pedestrians, hooligans throwing objects and people driving on the wrong side of the road - adding to the disruption, new figures reveal today.  By contrast roadworks account for just 1 in 7 lane closures. Road safety experts said many of the vehicle breakdowns are ‘avoidable’ and down to poor maintenance by motorists putting their own lives and those of others at risk.
cows on the UK road.....

Overall there were a total of 443,590 lane closures on motorways and primary A roads in England last year– costing the economy up to £1billion a year, according to the results of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the Institute of Advanced Motorists road safety charity.  A car passing a pothole as they are putting pedestrians at risk as well as motorists, according to an AA survey.  The problem is persisting on paths and pavements, with those walking the streets likely to encounter almost four potholes every mile. Overall, the pothole situation has eased slightly but local roads are still being blighted by an average of 6,25 potholes per mile, the survey showed.

Of the total lane closures some 185,457 – or 41 per cent – were caused by vehicle breakdowns. Of these 40,192 were in a ‘live lane’ with other moving traffic around it. By contrast planned road-works accounted for 61,587, 14 per cent, of the total – accounting for around 1 in 7 of the total. Obstructions on the motorways and major roads account for 36,042 or 8 per cent, one in 12, of the total. Road traffic crashes in which no-one was injured accounted for 29,656, or 7 per cent, but a further 6,288 collisions did involve injuries.

The list of causes of lane closures is mind blowing – they include : road works, vehicle collisions, police checks, mindless pedestrians,  burst or shed tyres; animals loose on road, abandoned vehicles, suicide or attempts thereat, objects thrown on road... An alarming 12,759 pedestrians walking on a live motorway lane or active A road caused lane closures and 122 unsupervised children accounted for around 3 per cent of all incidents.  Other causes listed included 3,990 animals loose on the network; 2,598 abandoned vehicles and 6,742 burst or shed tyres.

Away from all this melee, at St Lucia occurred this hippo crossing the road !   In another report on the same day, Daily Mail states of the shock that residents of St Lucia had when a giant hippopotamus strolled across the street and chased away children playing on the other side. 

They may look like cute and harmless, but hippos are one of the most dangerous beasts in Africa, killing an estimated 2,900 people a year.  The incredible footage shows the semi-aquatic mammal from the iSimangaliso Wetland Park calmly walk through parked cars in the neighbouring town, unconcerned by the surprised locals fleeing from its path.   The crossing moment  was captured by a driver who spotted the gigantic beast wander in the car's path ahead. The mammal made a beeline for the grassy verge on the other side of the road, where small children were playing in a tree.

As the large hippo reached the bank, metres away from the children, they swiftly fled from the tree and ran towards parked cars.  The unexpected animal visitor appeared unconcerned by all the attention, and continued on its exploration of the town.  Although behaving rather tamely in the photo, hippos, who can weigh up to 8000 pounds and can gallop at 29 kilometres per hour, are often prone to aggressive behaviour, so it is lucky the children escaped the scene.  The video was documented on the YouTube channel of the safari animal tracking app and website, Tracking The Wild.

Town residents are cautioned by signs to expect the occasional sighting of hippos, as the bordering wetland park of iSimangaliso is home to approximately 800 hippos and about 1,200 crocodiles. The warning signs state that particular caution should be paid at night time, so the sight of one of the hippos on the high street at 3pm took the town by surprise.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th May 2015. 

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