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186 elephants killed on rail tracks in over 10 years

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

186 elephants killed on rail tracks in over 10 years:

According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a total of 186 elephants were killed after being hit by trains across India between 2009-10 and 2020-21.

  • Assam accounted for the highest number of elephant casualties on railway tracks (62), followed by West Bengal (57), and Odisha (27).

Key measures taken:

  1. Setting up of a Permanent Coordination Committee between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) and the MoEFCC for preventing elephant deaths in train accidents.
  2. Clearing of vegetation along railway tracks to enable clear view for loco pilots.
  3. Using signage boards at suitable points to alert loco pilots about elephant presence.
  4. Moderating slopes of elevated sections of railway tracks.
  5. Setting up underpass/overpass for safe passage of elephants.
  6. Regulation of train speed from sunset to sunrise in vulnerable stretches.
  7. Regular patrolling of vulnerable stretches of railway tracks by frontline staff of the Forest Department and wildlife watchers.

Eco Bridges as a solution:

  1. Eco Bridges are wildlife corridors also known as wildlife crossing that are a link of wildlife habitat which connects two larger areas of similar wildlife habitat.
  2. It connects wildlife populations that would otherwise be separated by human activities or structures such as roads and highways, other infrastructure development, or logging and farming, etc.
  3. Eco Bridges aims at enhancing wildlife connectivity.
  4. These are made up of native vegetation i.e., it is overlaid with planting from the area to give a contiguous look with the landscape.


Prelims Link:

  1. IUCN conservation status of Asian Elephant.
  2. Elephant corridors in India.
  3. Calving period of elephants.
  4. Heritage animal of India.
  5. About Gaj Yatra.
  6. Elephant herd is led by?
  7. State with highest elephant population in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the measures suggested by the Environment Ministry to manage man- elephant conflicts.

Sources: the Hindu.