The TrickyScribe: One juvenile Indian tusker was mowed down when Nanda Devi Express ploughed into a herd in the wee hours of Saturday morning in Rajaji National Park. A case has been lodged against the driver and guard concerned in the same connection.
Passengers too felt a “jerk” but there was no injury reported, an official pleading anonymity said. The train left Motichur as per its schedule, the official said.
“There was not much damage to the train. However, in case, the train hits a herd at high speeds, there is a chance of derailment. The higher the speed, the greater the danger.”
Sources, however, indicate that the train was not speeding. The tragedy has again brought to the fore the man-animal conflict and raised questions about the efficacy of the warning systems.
Other pachyderms of the herd were safe with no other injury/casualty reported. Dr Sandeep Tiwari representing International Union for Conservation of Nature told The TrickyScribe that such accidents pose the actual threat to the survival of wildlife. The incident somewhere between Kansaro and Motichur, Dr Tiwari said and added that flank between the aforementioned places has been prone to similar accidents.
It may be mentioned here that the patrolling team, according to the records, was on duty. They, however, failed categorically in rescuing the sub-adult calf that bled to death in want of swift medical assistance.
In Rajaji National Park alone, as many as 23 deaths of elephants have been reported since 1997.
The carcass was cremated after its post-mortem. Talking to The TrickyScribe, Dr Tiwari said that railway line projects run through forests and wildlife reserves for thousands of kilometers affecting wildlife and their habitat.
“There’s a joint patrolling team to monitor the movement of animals near the railway tracks. Proper navigation indicators are installed for drivers. The vegetation, however, is so dense that it obstructs the vision of drivers leading to similar disasters,” Tiwari said.