Trying to save young ones, seven elephants mowed down by train

Trying to save young ones, seven elephants mowed down by train

 
Forest officials and villagers crowd around the carcass of an elephant, one of the seven killed by a goods train, lying over a railroad track at Moraghat Tea Garden in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal on Thursday. AFPAnd to add a poignant touch to the tragedy, a new herd of elephants emerged from the forest only to stand guard over the dead, forest officials in Jalpaiguri district said on Thursday.

The incident, perhaps the first of its kind, took place on Wednesday night near Binnaguri.

“Five elephants were killed on the spot on Wednesday night while two others succumbed on Thursday morning. Among the seven dead, three were babies and as many were females,” Jalpaiguri divisional forest officer Sunita Ghatak said.

She said two baby elephants were accidentally stuck in the track when the herd was crossing the railway line that divides Moraghat and Diana forest ranges. As the other elephants in the herd rushed to the rescue of the babies, a goods train passing through the forest, hit seven pachyderms, killing five on the spot and injuring three. Two succumbed on Thursday.

Drawn by the loud trumpet of the injured elephants, divisional forest officer Kalyan Das along with other forest officials rushed to the spot.

“The entire team was devastated after seeing the grief-stricken animals standing guard over the dead,” she said over telephone from Jalpaiguri district.

Trains suspended

Movement of trains on the link connecting New Jalpaiguri with Assam in North Eastern Frontier Railway (NFR), was suspended till Thursday morning so that the silent vigil of the other herd was not disturbed.

Incidentally, this part of the forest area where the track was converted into metre gauge from broad gauge, does not come under the purview of elephant corridor as a result of which the speed of the trains is not restricted.        

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