Guwahati: Watch the beautiful video above. While the sight of rich flora and fauna will delight you, a closer look will reveal an otherwise grim picture.
Every day, hordes of animals and birds at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal come in the way of an important railway route between Alipurduar and Siliguri. In the video, you can see a peacock just managing to get out of the track before a train chugs along.
In another shot, a herd of elephants is seen crossing the track precariously. This is, of course, apart from several other animals grazing near the railway track, completely unaware of the impending danger.
The railway line serves as a major transport route in the northern part of West Bengal. However, due to the 760-sq-km tiger reserve falling on the way, mishaps involving animal crossings are commonplace.
Between 2004 and 2015, within a span of 11 years, 52 elephants were mowed down by moving trains inside the tiger reserve, say reports. Although the trains maintain a steady speed of 25 kmph, the presence of a large number of animals make it a highly accident-prone area.
Buxa Tiger Reserve is one of the richest wildlife hot spot zones in the region with the presence of over 284 species of birds and 73 species of mammals. The reserve also has a very rich flora comprising of a great collection of rare orchids and medicinal plants.
Speaking to EastMojo, Bibuthi Prasad Lahkar from the Elephant Research and Conservation division of Aaranyak, said, “In order to preserve the wildlife and natural resources, the government should be willing to spend some money.” Aaranyak is a leading wildlife NGO based in Guwahati, Assam.
He further added that there were two options to minimise the killing of elephants by moving trains. “To provide safe passage to elephants, two-three tunnels might be built for the moving trains to pass through the tiger reserve. Secondly, the speed limit of the trains moving through the reserve should be kept at a bare minimum,” he said.
Lahkar further suggested that there should be no obstacles covering the curved areas of the rail track so that the driver and the elephant have a clear view ahead of each other.