Assam: Speeding train kills four elephants

Assam Four elephants die two injured after train hits herd in Nagaon

Earlier on December 10 previous year, five elephants, including a pregnant female were killed when the Guwahati-Naharlagun Donyi Polo Express hit a herd crossing tracks near Balipara in Sonitpur district.

A passenger train collided with a herd of elephants crossing the tracks in India's north-east, an official said on Sunday (Feb 11), killing four of the endangered animals in the high-speed accident.

Another elephant was seriously injured in the accident, he added.

The engine of the train derailed due to the impact, but passengers were safe, NDTV reported.

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The incident in an area known to be the elephant corridor.

"The incident took place at a location where there was no notified elephant corridor".

A railway line passes through 13% of the elephant corridors in the Northeast, primarily Assam. Train accidents, poisoning by farmers and electrocution are the main causes of elephant deaths, say forest department officials.

"The 19 locations were decided at a meeting in December 21 in Lumding", a forest official said.

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It may be mentioned here that there has been a manifold increase in the incidents of elephant crossings during the recent past and trains are constantly slowed down whenever any information of herd movement is shared with the railway by the forest department.

It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of both the forest and railway department that as many as 200 imminent dashing have been prevented this year alone.

According to the reports, over 150 wild elephants have died unnaturally in Assam between 2013 and 2017.

Deforestation and construction activity near their habitats force elephants to stray further afield for food, often bringing them into conflict with humans. Despite the mortality, elephant population in Assam rose from 5,246 in 2002 to 5,719 a year ago.

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