Train mows down two wild elephants in Assam


Guwahati : Two wild Asiatic elephants, including a calf, were mowed down by a speeding goods train early Friday in Assam, leading to derailment of the engine, officials said.

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A railway spokesperson said the accident took place near Deepor Beel village on the outskirts of Guwahati.

“A herd of wild elephants was crossing the railway track when the train hit the last two animals,” Assam’s chief wildlife warden M.C. Malakar told IANS.

The engine of the empty goods train was derailed.

“The calf was cut into pieces after it was dragged for about 200 metres. The adult elephant fell into a pond nearby after being hit by the train and died of profuse bleeding,” the warden said.

A railway official said the train driver probably had not seen the herd.

Experts say wild elephants have been moving out of the jungles in search of food with people encroaching upon animal corridors leading to an increasing number of elephant attacks on villages.

Elephants have killed 248 people in Assam in the past five years while 268 elephants have died during the same period, many of them victims of retaliation by angry humans, said a wildlife department report released recently.

Villagers often poison the marauding elephants, while in the past they drove them away by beating drums or bursting firecrackers.

Assam has India’s largest population of Asiatic elephants, estimated at around 5,300, according to a wildlife census in 2002.