Big news for elephants in India: Authorities estimate that 165 elephants were saved this year due to new programs implemented by the railway.
Nearly 2,330 elephants have died on Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) tracks since 2013. In the hopes of curbing the death toll, NFR introduced a variety of new strategies to help keep elephants safe when crossing.
Among the measures are slowing speeds in denoted zones, paying more attention to elephant presence visually and with sensors, and reminding employees and passengers to not litter. The railway flagged 67 areas with a larger elephant presence, and as a result, conductors are able to stop trains in time to allow elephant crossing. Speakers even amplify the sound of buzzing bees in strategic areas to discourage elephants from approaching the tracks as they are afraid of the insects.
The advancements are yet a work in progress as not all areas where elephants cross are marked. Additionally, stopping for an unexpected herd or individual is challenging and cannot always be done in time. That said, the strides that have been made so far are encouraging.
Thank you to all everyone who signed our petition to stop freight trains from killing innocent elephants. We are grateful to the Northeast Frontier Railway for their dedication and work to help save elephants’ lives. Still, there is much work to be done. Sign your name to help save even more elephants from unnecessary death on train tracks.