Elephant Dies After Train Hits Herd At Jalpaiguri

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Jalpaiguri: An elephant died after knocked down by a passenger train early, hours after rail and forest officials held a brainstorming session to reduce such fatalities on the Dooars tracks.

Forest department sources said that around 10 last night a herd of wild elephants were moving from Reti forest to Daina forest close to the Gorumara National Park. The herd needed to cross over the Siliguri-Alipurduar railway route that passes across the forest.

Forest department plans to lodge an FIR against the train driver once they get the post-mortem report. All the elephants in the herd managed to cross over the railway line safety but a sub-adult female elephant. As the elephant was crossing over, a train sped in and hit it.

The railway line through Dooars connects Siliguri with Alipurduar and passes through wildlife habitats like Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve and also through the fringes of Gorumara and Jaldapara, both national parks.

On getting information about the incident, senior forest officials of the north Bengal wildlife division went to the spot early this morning. Together with railway officials, they conducted a preliminary probe and then ordered a post-mortem of the elephant carcass.

The deaths had prompted the railways and the forest department to come up with new plans like regulation of speed, putting signage posts along the track in elephant crossing zones and alerting loco pilots time and again. The latest initiative was installation of buzzers which release sounds like a swarm of bees that discourages elephants from moving towards the track.

On Saturday, sources said the female elephant was crossing the tracks near Debpara Tea Estate in Banarhat of Jalpaiguri when the train, heading towards Alipurduar Junction, knocked it down, killing the animal the spot.

The impact was so intense that the train pushed the elephant for about 50 metres before flinging it to a low lying area by the railway track. It died of the injuries a little later.