Travel Tip
 Conf TL
 RF Club
 FM Alert
 FM Approval
Forum Super Search
Freq Contact:
Posting Date From:
Posting Date To:
Blog Category:
Train Type:
ONLY with Pic/Vid:
Sort by: Date:     Word Count:     Popularity:     
Public:    Pvt: Monitor:    RailFan Club:    

Full Site Search
  Full Site Search  
Sun Jan 20 08:17:25 IST
Post BlogPost Trn TipPost Stn TipAdvanced Search

Blog Entry# 3562788
Posted: Jun 22 2018 (21:54)

No Responses Yet
Rail News
IR Affairs
Jun 22 2018 (21:53)   Can Bees Help Save Elephants From Train Strikes?

a2z~   12807 news posts
Entry# 3562788   News Entry# 342470         Tags   Past Edits
In India, where elephants are hit by trains, people are trying innovative solutions.
BENGALURU, INDIAConservation scientist Aritra Kshettry had just begun his fieldwork studying the shared spaces between people and wildlife in India when he witnessed the aftermath of a gruesome interaction.
The Chapramari Forest lies in the eastern area of India, near the country’s border with
Bhutan. Much of the vegetation here dries up in the winter. But a large herd of elephants found still-green grasses along the railway line that crosses through the forest. As the elephants foraged near and on the tracks at dusk, a passenger train traveling at 50 mph tried to brake but barreled into the herd. Five adults and two calves were killed, and 10 elephants were injured.

Kshettry visited the accident site early the next morning. “It appeared they were standing in a line on the tracks just in front of a bridge,” said the Ph.D. student at the Centre for Wildlife Studies, a Bengaluru-based conservation group. “The train pushed them onto the bridge. Some of them fell into the river and others got stuck, dangling from the bridge. They were all lying in pieces.”
The train’s locomotive driver recalled that the rest of the herd stayed nearby after the accident. It took nearly 24 hours to clear the area.
That November 2013 accident was the deadliest for elephants in recent memory. Train collisions in India have killed 266 elephants from 1987 to July 2017, according to the Wildlife Trust of India. And so far this year, at least 15 elephants have been killed, according to news reports. The deaths occur at hotspots in a few Indian states where trains intersect with elephant habitats, a combination of more trains, faster trains, and a larger elephant population.
“You can look at it as a demographer or from an emotional viewpoint,” said ecologist Raman Sukumar of the Indian Institute of Science, who has been studying India’s elephants for more than three decades. “Train accidents don't make much difference in population. That's a very dispassionate view. But look at the mascot of Indian Railways. It's an elephant. The Railways cannot be killing their own mascot.”
Problem Spots
India’s train system is extensive. It covers more than 41,000 miles and transported more than 8 billion passengers during fiscal year 2016-17. Its tracks were first laid during the British colonial era. Beginning in the early 1990s, they were gradually converted from a meter gauge system to broad gauge, which allows for bigger, faster, and more trains. Increased speeds can be deadly in places where the railway travels through elephant habitats, especially with more animals. Rail tracks cross through 20 of India’s 101 elephant corridors—strips of land that allow them to move between habitats.
The Asian elephant ranges across Southeast Asia, with India accounting for about 55 percent of the total. The country’s wild elephant numbers jumped from 15,627 in 1980, with the official Elephant Census 2017 pegging the population at 27,312.
But not every elephant across the country is at risk of a train collision. The deaths are concentrated in hotspots, mostly in the country’s east. High on the list is the northern area of West Bengal state, the same region where seven elephants died in the 2013 accident. The elephant population here is particularly dense. A railways official reported 30 elephants were killed there in the five years until mid-December 2017. In perhaps the most recent accident this year, a train plowed into a female elephant on the night of June 8. It was only earlier that day that forest and railways officials had met to discuss the problem.
Another hotspot is the Northeastern state of Assam. A December 2017 collision there claimed the lives of five elephants. A stillborn calf was later removed from the pregnant female in the herd. After that accident, a group of conservationists penned an open letter to India’s Railway Minister to address the problem. A week later, another four elephants were killed in the state, the impact so great that the locomotive disconnected from the rest of the train.
After a collision this past April in Odisha state that killed four elephants, Indian Railways lowered speed limits to as low as 18 mph in several accident-prone areas in the country's east. But wildlife wardens say train conductors often flout speed regulations. In turn, Railways blames forest officials for not informing them about elephants near tracks, especially at night when most collisions occur.
Creative Solutions
Besides lowering speeds and warnings about elephants, other methods are being tried. In January, the forest department of Tamil Nadu state mounted infrared sensors on 6-meter poles on both sides of the railway track near an elephant corridor in the Western Ghats mountain range. If an elephant triggers the sensor, a text message is sent to the staff and they can dispatch people to chase the animals away from the tracks. 
Beginning late last year, railways officials in the east have installed devices that loudly broadcast the buzz of swarming honeybees, a sound they hope keeps elephants away for fear of the insects.
In the northern state of Uttarakhand, the forest department is using drones to keep track of animal movement. Still, three elephants were killed in train accidents in that state since February.
Long-Term Fixes
More permanent solutions include constructing overpasses or underpasses as safe crossing points for the elephants, elevating the railway track, or re-aligning the track away from sensitive areas. Fencing off the track to prevent elephants from getting close is also a possibility.
However, fencing has its own complications. In an idea adopted from South Africa, the forest department is using old railway tracks to fence three national parks in the southern state of Karnataka, to lessen human-elephant conflict. But elephants have been caught on camera stepping in between or over the fence, sometimes injuring themselves on sections of track that have spikes on them.
Without mitigating the problem of collisions, there is a potential for elephant deaths to increase. Especially since the Railways is laying down more than 850 miles of new track in India’s Northeast region, home to a third of the country’s elephants.
There is one big unknown concerning elephant behavior and trains. Sukumar, the ecologist, said that in many cases, the train makes a direct impact on the animal while it is crossing or standing on the tracks. It’s possible they may be blinded by the train’s light since most accidents happen at night. Or they cannot see the train because it’s coming around a curve, he explained.
“It’s highly unlikely that they would get stuck in the tracks,” said Sukumar. “It’s puzzling why this highly intelligent animal would wait on the tracks when it can even feel the vibration of the train’s movement.”

ARP (Advanced Reservation Period) Calculator

Reservations Open Today @ 8am for:
Trains with ARP 10 Dep on: Wed Jan 30
Trains with ARP 15 Dep on: Mon Feb 4
Trains with ARP 30 Dep on: Tue Feb 19
Trains with ARP 120 Dep on: Mon May 20


Rail News

New Trains

Site Announcements

  • Entry# 4200970
    Jan 18 (10:12PM)

    @all: This is to formally announce the END of the RailCal app. Due to the information blockade, the app has lost its value, and has been rendered completely useless. We are unable to support RailCal anymore. Sorry to disappoint our users. . RailCal has already been taken off the Google PlayStore. So once...
  • Entry# 4188821
    Jan 06 (02:19AM)

    @all: At this time, the PNR Forum is functioning again, albeit at a greatly reduced volume and efficiency. Refreshing PNRs is a very cumbersome affair. We may expect this to end as well, eventually, as the Govt. tightens these controls further. At IRI, we CANNOT waste any more time on this fruitless...
  • Entry# 4187635
    Jan 05 (01:47AM)

    The following changes are being introduced to keep the PNR Forum functioning. . 1. A "bookmarklet" called "PNR Refresh" has been created. Just Copy/Paste a small piece of text into your browser bookmarks. The bookmarklet will be available by morning. . 2. When you click on Post/Update/Refresh PNR, you will be taken to the Official...
  • Entry# 4180488
    Jan 02 (11:57AM)

    @all: The PNR Forum as we know it is OVER. The official website has unilaterally decided to thoroughly block and shut down all access to PNR info. We had put in MANY, many years of PAINSTAKING effort to develop the PNR Prediction infrastructure, and our Sr. Legendary Members have helped countless people...
  • Entry# 4135478
    Dec 22 (12:58PM)

    Starting Monday, we shall be starting the slow Test rollout of our new app - called RailFan. . What is RailFan? It is expected that RailFan will be the future of the IRI site for mobile phones. A full dedicated offline-capable messaging/blogging app, encompassing all the features of the IRI site. The RailFan app...
  • Entry# 4073462
    Dec 06 2018 (12:50PM)

    There are some minor changes to the PNR Forum: 1. The main PNR feed will only show UN-predicted (by you) PNRs which are coming in. However, if there are replies, the PNR will show and will bubble to the top. Once you predict the PNR, it will go away from the main...
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Bottom
Go to Mobile site
Important Note: This website NEVER solicits for Money or Donations. Please beware of anyone requesting/demanding money on behalf of IRI. Thanks.
Disclaimer: This website has NO affiliation with the Government-run site of Indian Railways. This site does NOT claim 100% accuracy of fast-changing Rail Information. YOU are responsible for independently confirming the validity of information through other sources.
India Rail Info Privacy Policy