Freight Train Kills 4 Elephants in India, Including a Calf
More than half of the globe’s roughly 50,000 Asian elephants, which are considered an endangered species, live in India. A recent study identified a dip inside country’s elephant population, though scientists disagree over whether there are actually fewer elephants or if their numbers are simply being counted more precisely.
In a letter to India’s railways minister of which year, a group of wildlife activists urged the government to take action in areas with large elephant populations, for instance by building underpasses beneath railway lines for the animals, as well as instructing passengers not to throw food out of windows.
The letter was sent about two weeks before a deadly accident in February, when a passenger train rammed into a herd of elephants in northeastern India, killing several. Indian forestry officials said the driver had been worried about being late as well as had ignored warnings to slow down.
After a train killed several elephants in Odisha in 2012, Mr. Mohanty, the wildlife expert, pushed for reducing speed limits in areas where elephants congregate.
The brand-new measures seemed to work, Mr. Mohanty said, until the accident on Monday. Even after hitting the elephants, the driver of the train did not stop, he said.
“The railways are under pressure to keep time routes,” he said. “They say to slow down, of which will eat into our timing as well as we’ll lose our revenue. We’ve been telling them of which of which can be a very modest cost to pay to protect India’s wildlife.”
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