An unusual sight greeted policemen and the few people on the road in Kerala’s Kozhikode; a critically endangered civet taking the zebra crossing.
“Now it’s turn of the Malabar large-spotted civet on the road. Critically endangered with fewer than 250 matured individuals. Endemic to western ghats, not seen since 1990 surfaced at Kozhikode (sometimes known by its anglicised version, Calicut) during present lockdown,” Indian Forest Officer Susanta Nanda tweeted.
The video, now viral, surfaced on social media two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a “total lockdown” for 21 days to halt the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 virus.
Now it’s turn of the Malabar large spotted civet on the roadCritically endangered with fewer than 250 matured individuals. Endemic to western ghats, not seen since 1990 surfaced at Kozhikode( sometimes known by its anglicised version, Calicut) during present lockdown. pic.twitter.com/aDvsx9QEGC
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) March 26, 2020
The otherwise nocturnal animal, with black spots and stripes, was seen walking on the striped road in Meppayur town of Kozhikode in north Kerala.
“They are natural to this place. Just that less traffic makes them walk freely now. This one is following Zebra crossing also,” Indian Forest Officer Praveen Kaswan wrote on Twitter.
The species was once common along the lowland coastal tracts of Kerala and Karnataka. In 1999, fewer than 250 mature individuals were thought to survive in the wild, according to a Kerala government website.
With people staying indoor, cities, roads and highways across the country have been deserted since Wednesday as the police are kepping a tight vigil.
More than a billion people in India have shut themselves in after PM Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Nearly 700 people have tested positive for COVID-19 or coronavirus and 17 have died.
(With inputs from ANI)