NEW DELHI — A passenger train speeding through northeast India barreled into a herd of elephants as they crossed a set of tracks late Wednesday, killing five. Their bodies were scattered in pieces, so the authorities were at first unable to count them and reported that seven had died.
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Indian forest department personnel inspected the carcass of an elephant, hit by a speeding a train.
One female elephant, whose leg was fractured by the train and was unable to stand, fell into a ravine below the track, unreachable by cranes or trucks, so veterinarians descended and set up a camp near her to provide treatment, Bidyut Sarkar, a divisional forest officer in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal State, said in a telephone interview. One body was left hanging from a railroad bridge.
The authorities said surviving members of the herd returned to the scene of the collision.
“The herd scattered, but returned to the railway tracks and stood there for quite some time before they were driven away by forest guards and railroad workers who rushed to the spot after the accident,” Hiten Burman, West Bengal’s forestry minister, told The Associated Press.
The train crosses through a so-called elephant corridor in Jalpaiguri district, where collisions are frequent. Twelve trains run through the corridor, and the latest accident brought this year’s death toll to 17 elephants, Mr. Sarkar said.
Deepak Sharma, one of four doctors now camping near the injured elephant, said that the others died of internal hemorrhaging and “complete mutilation.” The body of one elephant was trapped between the railroad track and a bridge, and had to be cut into several pieces to be removed. Service on the track was suspended for 12 hours.
几千公里的铁路穿过大象的栖息地，活动家和野生动物官员多次和运输部门开会，试图探讨方案减少这些撞击事故。WWF的 Dipankar Ghosh说环保组织 呼吁在下午4点到凌晨5点这段大象有可能穿越铁轨的 时间里 ，把列车运行速度降到40公里每小时左右。Ghosh说有关领导拒绝了这个请求，说这样会影响经济发展。
Thousands of miles of railroad tracks pass through areas inhabited by elephants, and activists and wildlife officials have repeatedly met with transportation officials in the hopes of minimizing collisions. Dipankar Ghosh of the World Wildlife Fund said that environmental groups urged slowing trains in such areas to 25 miles per hour between 4 p.m. and 5 a.m., when elephants are likely to be crossing tracks.
Mr. Ghosh said officials refused to do so, saying it would hamper economic development.
More than 26,000 elephants are believed to live in India, where they are closely associated with the Hindu god of wisdom. They are used frequently in temple festivals, marriages and social functions. Mr. Ghosh called them “our national heritage” and said the sight of their bodies was deeply disturbing to the public.