In yet another loss of wildlife in Uttarakhand's Udham Singh Nagar district, two elephant calves have been mowed down by Ranikhet Express. The train was on its way to Kathgodam, 23 kms from Nainital, as the accident took place near Haldi road railway station.
According to forest officials, the elephant, who were around two-year-old, had got separated from their herd. The incident has taken place while the calves were attempting to cross the tracks.
Three veterinary doctors have confirmed the cubs as female.
Assam has the maximum number of incidents of over-speeding trains knocking down elephants in the elephant corridor.
Three, including two pregnant, elephants killed
Three elephants, including two pregnant females (who later delivered two still born calves– 2-month-old foetus and a 4-month-old foetus– were killed at Hojai in the Nagaon district after being hit by the Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek Express on December 5, 2016.
In September 2016, two adult elephants were killed by the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express on the Assam-Nagaland border.
In Uttarakhand itself, another male elephant was killed in October 2016, when the Nanda Devi Express hit the elephant which was feeding on the foliage close to the tracks between Raiwala and Motichur, in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. The elephant succumbed to injuries after being taken to the Chilla range of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve for treatment.
Director of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Sanatan Sonkar told PTI that as many as 23 wild elephants have died in accidents along the tracks since 1987 between Motichur and Kans Rau, notoriously called the "killer track".
Meanwhile, a report by the Elephant Task force, commissioned by the Ministry of Environment, revealed that 150 elephants were crushed to death by speeding trains between 1987 and 2010.