August 27, 2018

10:48 am

On The Tracks With India's Elephants

Good news for India's elephants! After years of elephants getting hit by trains when they wander onto the tracks in more remote parts of the country, a new committee is being formed to try and combat these tragedies. Comprised of members of the government and the railway service, the committee will look for ways to limit elephant mortalities.

According to The Indian Express, "The primary responsibility of the proposed committee will be coordination and the first assignment will be to identify railway track zones that are transit points for elephants. Various railway lines in North and South Bengal cut cross forest land and paths frequented by elephant herds. The state forest department will alert railways about the movement of elephants near tracks so that the railways can alert guards and train drivers to slow down."

They will create a direct line of communication between the forest service (who usually know where the elephants are) and the train conductors (who might be heading their way). It's a straightforward solution to a devastating problem and we could probably use a whole lot more of those, right?

In other good news out of India, a train conductor in West Bengal managed to avert disaster earlier this week when he spotted a herd of elephants on the track. Thanks to his quick eye, he managed to brake and allow the elephants to amble across. It delayed the train by more than ten minutes but we can probably all agree that it was well worth the wait. This welcome occurrence is notable because of its rarity. The train conductor and his assistant are receiving well-deserved commendations from their employer and wildlife groups around the world who say that if more operators paid attention to the tracks like these two, these tragedies could be avoided.