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Experts probe rising deaths of elephants in North Bengal

Jalpaiguri, Mar 20 (ANI): Environment and forest experts visited Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Tuesday to identify the causes behind rising incidents of elephant deaths, many of whom are crushed by speeding trains.

An official from the Ministry of environment and forests, R. Sukumar, said that there was need to set up a sound warning system to prevent the accidents from occurring.

“See, short term remedies, you see, right now is to only to try to install, you know, basically patrolling this area, trying to provide early warning to the local drivers that moment a elephant is close to the track, and therefore you know, they are warned and therefore they are cautious, you know, when they are plying in this given sector. But I think in the long term, because the elephant population of Buxa is also very large, we have to see to it that some long term solution is there,” said Sukumar in Jalpaiguri district of the state on Tuesday.

A two-member expert team from the ministry of environment and forests visited Buxa Tiger Reserve and inspected railway tracks that pass through the area.

They also held a meeting with the railway officials of the district at Rajabhatkhawa forest to find out possible solutions to the problem.

Sukumar also added that there was need to put certain restrictions with regards to the trains that are plying at night.

“Eventually try to reduce the traffic here, to the extent possible, especially trains that are going at night. See because most of the accidents are taking place at night. So maybe permit the trains to go during the day time and during the night time, maybe put a lot of restrictions for the trains going at night,” Sukumar.

Six elephants were crushed by speeding trains this year in the region and the latest being the death of an adult tusker in Damanpur area of Jalpaiguri district on March 05.

India has over 50 per cent of Asiatic elephants, considered to be a cultural icon and worshipped as Lord Ganesha. Unfortunately, the numbers of elephants are dwindling due to the human elephant conflict. (ANI)