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Speeding train runs over four elephants

One of the elephants run over by a train near Doldoli 10 kms from Diphu in Karbi Anglong district of Assam on Saturday. (NP)
Published on 3 Jan. 2010 12:39 AM IST
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A speeding freight train mowed down four wild Asiatic elephants, including two calves, amid dense fog in Assam Saturday, the authorities said. The incident occurred between Daldali and Walingdisa railway station at around 3.10 a.m in Karbi Anglong district, about 270 km from Guwahati. The train was carrying petroleum products. “The train hit the elephant herd squatting on the track. The train driver probably did not see the herd because of dense fog,” Northeast Frontier Railways chief spokesperson S. Hajong told IANS. Railway authorities said the elephants were hit from the rear side. The impact of the crash was so high that the remains of the entire herd were dragged up to Walingdisa station which is about 1000 meter away from Daldali. “The two adult elephants were in a pool of blood after being hit by the train,” said Narayan Das, a wildlife ranger. A fifth elephant with multiple injuries managed to take shelter within the reserve forest area. Soon after the accident, hundreds of locals armed with crude implements arrived at the site and took away the nails, tusk and other body organs of the dead animals. “When we reached the site, we found body organs of the elephants missing,” Das said. Experts say that wild elephants have been moving out of the jungles in search of food because people have been encroaching animal corridors. This has led to increasing elephant attacks on villages. Elephants have killed 270 people in Assam in the past five years. A total of 280 elephants have died in the same period, many of them victims of retaliation by people, according to the wildlife department. Assam has India’s largest population of Asiatic elephants estimated at around 5,500. The railway track between Daldali and Walingdisa station falls within the vicinity of the famous “Elephant corridor” also a migratory track of the jumbos, resulting into numerous incidences of tusker killing.

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