Another Elephant Killed By Speeding Train

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“I would like to know what they are going to do about it, so there can be no further casualties!”

GUWAHATI: An elephant was killed by aspeeding train on the outskirts of Guwahati on Wednesday night as the railway tracks continue to be a deathtrap for the pachyderms in the state.

Elephants risk life by crossing railway lines

A female elephant was killed in a collision with an inter-city train in the Kurkuria area under Sonapur forest range of Kamrup district on Wednesday night. The train was going from Guwahati to Tinsukia in upper Assam. The elephant, which had been separated from its herd, was dragged on the tracks by the train. The railway track where the mishap occurred is close to the Amsang wildlife sanctuary. Forest officials said the elephant would be around seven years old.

With the Wednesday killing, the total death toll of elephants due to collision with speeding train has increased to four this year. An elephant succumbed to injuries after being hit by a train at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Jorhat district last month, while two elephants were knocked down to death in Karbi Anglong area on February and June. In May this year, an elephant was injured by a moving train in the Deepor Beel area, also in the outskirt of Guwahati.

Last year, five elephants were killed in collision with moving trains in different parts of the state, including three jumbo deaths in Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary alone.

In 2010, about seven elephants were knocked down to deaths by speeding trains in Karbi Anglong and Deepor Beel areas. The Wildlife Trust of India has identified at least 19 spots where railway tracks passes through elephant habitats. These spots have been declared sensitive.

According to Elephant Task Force (ETF), Assam tops with a 36 per cent of elephant casualties due to train-hits since 1987, followed by West Bengal with 26 per cent and Uttarakhand with 14 per cent.

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Poachers kill rhino in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

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An adult male rhino was killed by poachers inside the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district of Assam.

The poachers came on a boat and killed the rhino late last night before fleeing with its horn, police said on Thursday.

Large parts of Pobitora has been inundated by flood water since past one week and most of the animals in the sanctuary have fled to higher grounds.

Police said poachers took advantage of the flood, which has also led to closure and shifting of guard camps, to kill the animal.

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Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest

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Jadav “Molai” Payeng started his project 30 years ago when he was still a teenager. Then, in 1979, flood waters washed a large number of snakes ashore on the local sandbar in Jorhat, some 350 km from Guwahati. When the waters receded, Payneg (who was 16 at the time) noticed the reptiles had died due to a lack of forestry.

“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested,” said Payeng, who is now 47, to The Times of India.

Payeng chose to live on the sandbar, starting a life of isolation as he began work to create a new forest. Planting the seeds by hand, watering the plants in the morning and evening, and pruning them when required, he cultivated a huge natural reserve. After a few years, the sandbar was transformed into a bamboo thicket.

Photo by gozef

“I then decided to grow proper trees. I collected and planted them. I also transported red ants from my village, and was stung many times. Red ants change the soil’s properties . That was an experience,” Payeng recalled.

Over the years, the reserve has seen a huge variety of flora and fauna blossom on the sandbar, including endangered animals like the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger. “After 12 years, we’ve seen vultures. Migratory birds, too, have started flocking here. Deer and cattle have attracted predators,” claims Payeng .

Unfortunately, locals reportedly killed a rhino which was seen in his forest, something that Payeng clearly disapproves of.  ”Nature has made a food chain; why can’t we stick to it? Who would protect these animals if we, as superior beings, start hunting them?”

Amazingly, the Assam state forest department only learnt about Payeng’s forest  in 2008 when a herd of some 100 wild elephants strayed into it after marauding through villages nearby. It was then that assistant conservator of forests Gunin Saikia met Payeng for the first time.

“We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar. Locals, whose homes had been destroyed by the pachyderms, wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng dared them to kill him instead. He treats the trees and animals like his own children. Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in,” says Saikia. “We’re amazed at Payeng. He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero.”

Read more: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

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