Elephant dies on tracks in TN, 6th death in 20 days (Coimbatore, India)


Times of India

Date Published

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In yet another incident of rail kill in less than a month, a 10-year-old tusker was killed after a train hit the animal on Saturday, on the Walayar-Ettimadai section close to Coimbatore border in Kerala. It’s also the sixth elephant death in the region in the past 20 days.

Kerala state forest department officials said the tusker was crossing the railway track just 1km away from Walayar railway station when the Kollam-Vishakapatnam weekly express knocked it down at around 5am. In the impact, the tusker was thrown 100m away from the track. “We have reg istered a case against the loco pilot of the train under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and also initiated steps to arrest him,” said Jaishankar, district forest officer (incharge), Walayar.

Veterinary doctor R Francis Arputharaj and team from Kozhipara in Palakkad conducted the autopsy inside the reserve forest. They told reporters that the elephant had sustained multiple injuries in the accident and died of pulmonary haemorrhage.

Wild life activists, meanwhile, pointed out that the accident happened despite Tamil Nadu forest department deploying anti-poaching watchers to monitor elephant movements on railway track and warn loco pilots.

A 15-year-old elephant had died when the Bengaluru-Kochuveli express hit it while it was trying to cross the track near Madukkarai on June 20. “The railways should issue strict warnings to loco pilots to adhere to the speed limit, especially during night hours, to save wild elephants,” said S Guruvayurappan, project officer, Wildlife Protection Society of India.

Pointing out that trains often ply at 80-100 kmph near elephant corridors, N I Jalaluddin, president of Nature Conservation Society , Coimbatore, said, “As per railway instructions, all trains should maintain the speed of 45kmph during night and 65kmph during the day. If drivers violated it, they should be punished appropriately.”