Guwahati, Oct 12: Expressing solidarity with conservationists as well as the people of Assam who have voiced grave concern and protest against the incident of Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express hitting a herd of elephants in Jorhat district of the state Sunday night, Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) today demanded immediate measures on part of the Indian Railways to safeguard the heritage animal from train-hits.
Expressing deep concern over the threat posed by train collision and how it undermines the conservation efforts to safeguard elephants and other wildlife as well, the premier biodiversity conservation organisation of the country has stated, “It is alarming that since January, 2022 eight elephants were killed by trains, four alone in just over a month in Assam. The areas with highest train-elephant collision occurrence are in Kampur-Hojai-Diphu-Mariani, as per a recent study.
“Reports indicate that between 1990 and 2018, a total of 115 elephants died in Assam due to train hits alone.
“The state of Assam with an estimated wild elephant population of approximately 5719, accounts for substantial unnatural elephant mortality as a result of train hits, preceded only by elephant electrocution.
“Linear infrastructure such as railway tracks often run through pristine wildlife habitats which has consequently led to habitat fragmentation posed barriers to wildlife movement and caused casualties due to collision.
“The threat of wildlife-train collision is magnified for a long-ranging species such as Asian elephants which need expansive areas for their survival. Aaranyak strongly urges the Indian Railways to look into the matter and act immediately in addressing the issue and curtail down on elephant-train collision.”
Aaranyak demands that the Railways should look into the matter and come-up with short-term mitigation measures and long-term solutions to safeguard the heritage animal.
The organisation flags that the conservation costs must be prioritised while planning for developmental projects such as linear infrastructure and other land-use changes.
The Government Line Departments must work in tandem to achieve this holistic goal. Aaranyak is working tirelessly to safeguard elephants, protect biodiversity of the region and thereby ensure human well-being too.