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Thread: Jumbo in revenge attack on trains

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    Default Jumbo in revenge attack on trains

    Some sad news about man elephant conflict.

    Jumbo in revenge attack on trains
    Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN, Aug 18, 2010, 02.21am IST

    JALPAIGURI: Elephants are on the revenge track in the Dooars. On Tuesday, a lone bull challenged a train in Gulma forest and head-butted it. The jumbo was chased off by forest guards but came back to charge another train.

    Was it pining for the tusker run over by a train in Chapramari on August 5? Or the juvenile crushed under a speeding engine on July 19? Forest officials cannot shake off the uncanny coincidence. In fact, the bull is suspected to be part of the herd that had unwittingly run on to the track in Gulma last month and saw one of their own being hit and dragged 50 metres down the track, squealing and screaming in the agony of death.

    More than 30 elephants have been killed by trains in the Dooars since 2003. "It is quite possible that this male elephant is seeking revenge. Elephants are known to return to the spot where they had been attacked or where they met with an accident and wreak havoc. We are looking into the incident," said V K Sood, conservator of forests (wild life), North Bengal.

    Around 11am on Tuesday, the loner blocked the railway track that runs through the sanctuary. As the New Jalpaiguri-bound Inter-City Express steamed in, the giant bull pulled its ears back and waved its trunk menacingly, as if inviting the train to a duel. The driver pulled the brakes and the train came to a halt about 50 metres from the jumbo.

    The elephant charged, kicked the engine, waited a few seconds and rammed it before walking away.

    Terrified, the driver informed the nearest station, which called the forest department. A team of foresters spotted the elephant about 100 yards from the track, and chased it 2 km into the forest.

    Forest guards chased away the elephant that attacked the Intercity Express in Gulma forest in the Dooars at 11 am on Tuesday.

    After about three hours, the jumbo returned to the track and blocked it yet again. This time, a train heading for Alipurduar screeched to a halt.

    Terrified passengers saw the elephant sprint towards the engine and ram it. "I peered out to see why the train had stopped in the jungle and could not believe my eyes. It was clear, the elephant was deliberately hitting the engine. It walked away, turned and sprinted back to ram it once again. It then disappeared into the forest," said Babu Mukherjee, a passenger.

    The 200-km track connecting Alipurduar to New Jalpaiguri cuts across six sanctuaries. Its necessity has been questioned and conservationists believe the track has put wild animals in grave danger. Three years ago, a herd at Gulma had chased a speeding train after it ran over a cub. "We are trying to make sure that further straying does not happen," said Sood.

    Read more: Jumbo in revenge attack on trains - Kolkata - City - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...#ixzz0wwXaAbqG
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Elephants have excellent memory and strong attachment with places and others of the same species. In the beautiful BBC documentary called 'Eye for the Elephant' Martyn Colebeck has documented, elephant herds coming back to a location where a matriarch had died and actually recognising her by the bones strewn around and getting unsettled with the situation.
    They are a highly intelligent species.
    Coming to the topic of elephant deaths due to trains, the problem has been around for a long time now. The only sustainable solution to this is to change the tracks course and keep it as far as possible from elephant corridors. A speed limit should be mandated in such areas so that these incidents can be avoided.

    Bibhav Behera

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