Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Five elephants run over and killed by train in Assam

Five elephants run over and killed by train in Assam

"Around 9.40 pm on Saturday, the engine of the Guwahati-Silchar Fast passenger train dashed against a herd of elephant between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan stations under Lumding Division of NF Railway".

Five elephants were killed after being hit by a train while crossing rail tracks in Assam's Hojai district, a forest official said on Sunday. Four elephants died on the spot while one injured pachyderm is battling for life. After hitting the elephants, the engine of the passenger train derailed.

Locals claim that the accident happened in an area that has already been identified as an elephant corridor, and they even waved and tried to stop the train driver. The section was restored after the engine was put back on track nearly five hours later.

The elephants were part of a larger herd migrating through the hilly forest state, where train tracks cut across elephant corridors that act as transit routes for the wandering animals.

A railway line passes through 13% of the elephant corridors in the Northeast, primarily Assam.

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A special train was sent from Lumding to help stranded passengers, an official of Northeast Frontier Railway said.

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

The NFR is keen on mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks but at the same time safety of train movements has to be ensured, he added.

According to the 2011 census, there are 5,620 wild elephants in Assam, the highest in the country.

Deforestation and construction activity near their habitats force elephants to stray further afield for food, often bringing them into conflict with humans. Data provided by the Wildlife Division of Assam's Forest Department say electrocution, train-hit and attack by villagers killed 40 elephants in 2017.

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