Before you see the video and then read about the “truth”, know that IUCN lists Asian elephants as endangered species.
The Asian elephants are scattered across South and Southeast Asia.
Now watch this video. It shows an elephant somewhere in India trying to cross a railway track to reach a forest.
There is nothing to smile about in the video. The truth is that the elephant is taking a great risk by crossing the railway track just to move freely.
India is perhaps the only country in the world where elephants die in train-related accidents. The ever increasing network of the Indian Railways is also spelling doom for the majestic pachyderms who move from one patch of forest to another.
Between 1987 and 2008, as many as 118 elephants had been killed by the trains.
And the year 2013 witnessed one of the worst such incidents when a train killed five adult elephants and two calves in Chapramari forest in Jalpaiguri.
In fact, most elephant deaths occur in the northwestern part of the country in West Bengal and Assam. Both states are home to a relatively higher number of elephants. Trains coming from and going to Assam take the narrow Chicken’s Neck Corridor thereby passing many wildlife sanctuaries.
While new railway lines are laid at a rapid rate, the absence of certain building measures such as elevated corridors (not to be confused with wildlife corridors) hinder the safe passage of animals.
Elevated railway tracks can provide ease of movement for animals such as this public transport route in Poznan in Poland which allows for the animals to pass underneath.
Though costly, they can go a long way in ensuring the safety of the animals in critical areas.
In January this year, the Center wrote to all state chief wildlife wardens instructing them to remain on high alert to prevent deaths of elephants due to train accidents.
The Union Government has also sought a report of every elephant death from the states.