In a first, train pilot booked after speeding train kills elephant (Coimbatore, India)


Times of India

Date Published


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For the first time in Coimbatore forest division, forest officials have registered a case against a loco pilot under the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 on Friday for killing a wild elephant by a speeding train near Navakkarai here.

A female elephant aged about 15 years, tried to cross the railway track near Puthuppathi area, coming under Madukkarai forest range, at 5.50am on Friday. The West Coast express, heading towards Chennai from Mangalore, hit the female elephant that sustained severe injuries on its ribs and back. The animal was found dead 20 feet away from the railway track.

Along with two other elephants, the female elephant tried to cross the railway track early Friday morning. After the train hit the animal, the loco pilot informed officials at the Palakkad railway division. However, it succumbed to its injuries before officials could come to its rescue.

I Anwardeen, conservator of forests, Coimbatore circle, A Periyasamy, district forest officer (in charge), Coimbatore forest division and other officials rushed to the spot. Forest department officials alleged that railway authorities had not taken any steps to reduce speed limits between Walayar and Madukkarai section.

“The railway authorities have installed sign boards indicating elephant movement areas near the tracks between Madukkarai and Walayar. The loco pilots were asked to blow horns while crossing the section. But most drivers don’t follow the instructions. Now, we have lost another female elephant,” said Periyasamy.

“Both Tamil Nadu and Kerala forest department had asked the railway authorities to operate the train at a speed of 30kmph on the stretch between Madukkarai and Walayar. But the railway department has not made any attempt to reduce the speed limit,” said conservator of forests, Anwardeen.

As of now, as per railway department rules, the speed limit during the day is 65kmph while at night it is 45kmph. As many as 40 trains cross the stretch from 9pm to 6am daily.

“We have registered a case against the loco pilot under the wildlife protection act and further investigation is on,” said DFO Periyasamy.

Veterinary doctor K Asokan conducted postmortem at the reserve forest and later, the carcass was buried.