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News Entry# 288222
Dec 10 2016 (16:53)  Railway lines- Death traps for elephants, (
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News Entry# 288222     
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New Delhi: In three separate incidents, four elephants and a tiger were killed on railway tracks this week. Three elephants, including two pregnant elephants and a juvenile, were killed at Hojai in the Nagaon district of Assam on 4 December  and another elephant died after being hit by a train in Goalpara district in Assam on 5 December. A four year old tiger was killed after being hit by a train at Satna district in Madhya Pradesh on 5 December. The plight of India’s ‘National Heritage Animal’ on railway tracks needs urgent attention from the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. More than 200 elephants have been killed due to train hits in the last 30 years. Ironically, Indian’s Railway’s mascot Bholu, is also an elephant.
involving wildlife deaths occurring along the railway tracks are an increasing concern. Such incidents have also increased after conversion of the tracks from meter gauge to broad gauge. Since this shift, there are far more passenger and freight trains covering more than 1500km of railway tracks which pass through some of the country’s most sensitive wildlife habitats, including Protected Areas and wildlife corridors.
While the up-gradation of railway infrastructure is needed, measures need to be taken to reduce its adverse impacts on forests and wildlife. Concrete steps need to be enforced to reduce  incidents of train-hits. Railways, Forest Department and District Administration need to take up joint efforts including patrolling to monitor elephant movement near railway tracks, regular coordination meetings and the need to put in a system where near-real time information can be fed into the train movement system to warn locomotive drivers of probable elephant crossings. Speed limitations need to be put in places where railway tracks move through wildlife habitats. Most importantly, locomotive drivers need to strictly adhere to speed limitations when passing through stretches where elephants cross railway tracks. Implementation of focussed long-term awareness programme for railway staff in wildlife areas are crucial in addressing this issue.
Key stakeholders involving Indian Railways, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and state Forest Departments and civil society in elephant range states need to implement tangible actions to reduce elephant mortality due to train-hits in the country.  0  0  0
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