The elephants were hit by a train while crossing the Jansa Forest Division’s Bansapani railway line in the Champua range around 7.30pm, officials said.
Bhubaneswar: Two elephants, including two calves, were killed when a train carrying iron ore collided with a railway crossing in Odisha’s Keonjhar district on Thursday evening.
The elephants that were part of a herd of 22 were crossing the Bansapani railway line of the Jampa Forest Division of the Champua range around 7.30 pm and were seriously injured.
Forest officials rushed to the scene immediately after receiving the disaster information, but the injured elephants could not be treated as the remaining members of the herd were guarded on the spot. An injured calf died Thursday night, while another calf and a female elephant died early Friday morning, officials said.
The forest department has been informed about the herd in the area and officials are keeping a close watch on their movement, said Dhanraj Dhamdheere, Divisional Forest Officer, Keonjhar. Railway officials were told the same when the speed of the train did not exceed 25 km per hour. But the darkness has caused the disaster, DFO said.
In Odisha, at least 36 elephants have been killed in a train collision in the last 10 years. The last such incident occurred in December last year when a boy and a female elephant were killed on a goods train near the Bhusandpur station in Tangia in Khurda district.
Speaking to conservationist Biswajit Mohanty, the state forest department is responsible for the death of all elephants on the railway tracks due to the failure to prosecute a railway official. “There is no fear of prosecuting any railway authorities over the death of elephants, as the State Forest Department never presses charges. State wildlife chiefs should be held accountable for their lack of attitude, ”said Mohanty.
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