When it comes to the battle of man vs. animal, rarely does the animal win. Such is the case for the 67 man-animal conflicts that have occurred over the last 6 years in the West Bengali Dooars region in India.
Since 2013, nearly seventy elephants have tried to cross the tracks have been felled by oncoming trains. Many don't survive.
The latest victim died just last month when an Intercity Express between Banarhat and Nagrakata. The tracks cross through the floodplains, an area is known for its population of elephants.
As the train made its way down the rails, a large elephant came into view. As it attempted to cross the tracks it was struck by the train. Even though the conductor tried everything to stop it, he only managed to slow it down but the impact was still enough to do critical damage. Video of the accident
made the rounds on social media. In the video, the elephant lay stunned on the tracks leaning against the train. Patches of skin were rubbed raw and bled from the impact and one of its front legs looked as if it had been shattered. Unfortunately, the impact of the crash was too much for her and she died days later.
The Dooars route has proven deadly for these endangered elephants but despite the deaths of dozens of them, Northern Frontier Railways and the Forest Department have yet to implement a plan that will avoid elephant vs train casualties.
Speed restrictions through the forested area surrounding the railway have been shown to reduce deaths and injuries, but unbelievable they have been reversed. For example, for the 2015-2016 season, railways lowered the speed limit in the area to 15 mph and lives were saved because of it. But the limits were lifted after that.
Clearly, officials aren't taking this crisis seriously. Northern Frontier Railways and the Forest Department must figure out a way to pass trains safely through the elephant habitat without injuring or killing more animals. Please sign the petition and demand they do so today.