At least 4 elephants were killed after they were hit by a train in India's eastern state of Odisha. The incident happened Monday, April 16, near Telidihi Village in Odisha's Jharsuguda district.
The herd of elephants – one tusker, two female elephants and a calf – was crossing the railway line at around 4 am. The elephants were hit by the Bokaro-Alleppey Express near Bagdihi Railway Station, The Hindu reported.
"Although there was no elephant movement in the area for the past three to four months, the railway authorities were duly informed to reduce train speed in that section. Besides, they were also requested to follow guidelines including making continuous hooting along the stretch," Sushant Kumar, the divisional forest officer of Jharsuguda territorial division, told the publication.
The railway tracks were inoperable for a few hours after the incident. Forest officials removed the bodies with the help of cranes and cleared the track.
Biswajit Mohanty, an environmentalist and former member of National Board for Wildlife, has said that forest and railway officials should take the responsibility.
"The death of four elephants is a tragic incident. While forest department appears to be not sincere in identifying sections in which elephant movements are frequent, trains continue to move fast through elephant corridors," Mohanty said.
In February, 4 elephants were killed and 2 were injured in India's northeastern state of Assam when the herd was crossing rail tracks. The elephants died on the spot and the engine was damaged.
According to a forest department official, around 70 elephants died in 2017 in the area due to electrocution, speeding trains, poisoning, human attacks, and other accidents. In Odisha, over 15 elephants have been killed by speeding trains since 2010.