Goods train kills elephant calf in Assam

Guwahati, Dec 20 : An elephant calf was killed after it was run over by a goods train near Deepor Beel, a Ramsar site located close to Assam's capital Guwahati.

Forest officials said the incident took place around 11 p.m. Thursday. There were over 20 elephants in the herd.

"While the rest of the group managed to cross over to the other side of the track, the ill-fated calf, about three years old, was knocked down by the goods train," the forest officials said.

The elephants from the nearby Rani and Garbhanga reserved forests often come to Deepor Beel despite the railway track passing through the wetland.

Forest officials said a patrol team also tried to divert the elephant herd from crossing the railway tracks after they witnessed a train approaching. However, they couldn't prevent the accident.

A spokesman of the Northeast Frontier Railway said the railways have been ensuring that train drivers strictly follow the prescribed instructions while passing through elephant corridors.

"However, it was a very foggy night yesterday (Thursday), which led to poor visibility. The distance between the calf and the train was very narrow and the train could not be stopped to save the calf," the spokesman said.

There have been several cases of elephants being hit by trains in the past in Assam. The state government, in association with wildlife organisations and people living along the elephant corridors, has launched a drive to prevent the accidents for the past several years.

--IANS (Posted on 20-12-2013)

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