“Please Note Graphic Image: furthest down page! Two items of related news: the first shows yet another image of an elephant killed by speeding train, in March 2013. In that article India’s Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal stressed the need to protect the elephants from trains…the current news below is a step in the right direction!”
BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to check growing number of cases of elephants being fatally hit by trains, Odisha government today signed an MoU with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to develop a mitigation plan.
The New Delhi-based WTI would identify and map the critical accident prone sites and habitats of elephants and also identify factors – ecological, physical and man-made- responsible for accidental deaths of elephants.
“WTI will prepare a detailed report on mitigation plan and implement the Rs 9.9 lakh project over a period of 12 months,” said Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Routray after signing the MoU.
Last year, the state has witnessed death of about 13 elephants due to train hits. While seven jumbos were killed due to train accidents in Keonjhar, four in Berhampur of Ganjam district and two in Dhenkanal district.
The state government had held several meetings with the Indian Railway authorities and the Ministry of Environment and Forest(MoEF) on the issue. However, there had been no such improvement in the situation.
WTI will simultaneously organise consultations/ meetings/workshops with the staff of forest department and other stake holders departments and finalise mitigation plan and jointly implement a few identified shot term mitigation plan like signage along the railway track and awareness of train drivers, the minister said.
“Please Note Graphic Image Below”
March 2013 – Giant elephant killed by speeding train INSIDE nature reserve as it tries to cross track in remote northeast India –
This tragic photo shows the body of a tusker elephant who died today when he was hit by a speeding train in West Bengal.
The adult elephant was struck by a train in a forest at the Buxa Tiger Reserve, a few miles from Alipurduar in north east India.
A speeding passenger train, the Guwahati-bound Somporkkranti Express, hit the elephant while he was crossing the railway line. He died instantly.
The tiger reserve where the elephant was killed is inside the Buxa National Park, which runs along India’s boundary with Bhutan.
This means that the tiger reserve serves as international corridor for elephants migrating between India and Bhutan, making a it a danger spot for train drivers.
Indian forest guards now have the difficult task of getting the huge animal off the tracks so that the train line can reopen.
Sadly this fatal collision was not an isolated incident.
As recently as December last year, five elephants were killed after they were hit by a passenger train in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
They were crossing railway tracks with their herd.
At the moment there are around 26,000 wild elephants in India.
Although elephants are worshipped by many Indians, their shrinking habitat has made them increasingly unsafe, especially when travelling cross country.
The state of Orissa in eastern India last year issued a warning, asking trains to slow down because of moving elephants herd, but they say it was ignored.
The main reasons for elephant deaths are poaching, eating crops poisoned by farmers, and being hit by trains.
Last week, India’s Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal stressed the need to protect the elephants from trains, describing the animals as ‘gentle giants’ whose lives must be safeguarded.