Assam: Speeding train kills four wild elephants

A crane removes the carcass of a female elephant near Banarhat village in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. The track was closed down for several hours after the collision. Reuters file

At least four elephants were killed and two others injured in Assam after a train hit a herd trying to cross railway tracks officials said

Guwahati: Five elephants were killed after being hit by a train while crossing rail tracks in Assam's Hojai district, a forest official said today.

The incident in an area known to be the elephant corridor. The engine of the train derailed due to the impact; no passenger was injured.

There is no report of any passenger receiving injuries.

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.

Seventy elephants had lost their lives a year ago due to electrocution, speeding trains, poisoning, human attacks, and other accidents besides natural death, a forest department official said.

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Mr Sharma told the Times of India that, although an investigation had been ordered, the train appeared to have been "within its stipulated speed". The train was on its way from Guwahati to Silchar and moving at 30 km per hour. A special train has been sent from Lumding, to help the stranded passengers, an official of Northeast Frontier Railway said.

There are almost 30,000 elephants in India and in 2017 an estimated 60 of the animals were killed on train tracks.

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

Due to large scale deforestation, elephants have lost their natural habitats and have been forced to come out in plain areas in search of foods.

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