Heart-Breaking News! Four Elephants Tragically Killed In “Massacre” By A Speeding Train In Odisha, India

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Photo by Biswaranjan Rout, The Hindu

Devastating news from eastern India this morning as WAN learns that a herd of four elephants, including a Big Tusker and a calf, were tragically killed by a speeding train early yesterday morning.

The crash reportedly occurred in a forest which serves as an elephant corridor in the state of Odisha, close to the Sambalpur elephant reserve.

According to Hindustan Times, the location is known to be a vulnerable spot for elephants and where a four-month-old calf searching for food died last September after falling into a railway trench.

“Today’s incident is nothing less than a massacre of elephants by Railways,” stated Dr. Biswajit Mohanty, a former member of the National Board of Wildlife. “The forest department had issued a specific advisory to the Railways to slow down trains at Teladihi section as it was a regular elephant crossing zone. Why did the Railways not take the necessary steps? The casual approach towards the safety of wildlife should not be tolerated.”

Mohanty said an immediate inquiry should be conducted and the failures that caused this travesty be fixed. The forest department has since filed a case against the railways.

Over the last eight years, 22 elephants in the state have been unnecessarily killed on rail tracks yet despite the rising casualties, wildlife advocates claim that officials have not taken enough measures to prevent such incidents.

As per the news outlet, in the last nine years, 589 elephants have died, of which 205 deaths were unnatural. While 95 poaching incidents and 87 electrocutions were main reasons for these unnatural deaths, with death on train tracks being the third most prevalent cause.

Currently, only an estimated 20,000-25,000 endangered Indian elephants remain in the wild.

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