India Today - - UPFRONT -

Vil­lagers fes­tooned with flow­ers the bod­ies of two fe­male ele­phants killed by a pas­sen­ger train en route to Guwa­hati. Strag­glers in a herd of about 15 try­ing to cross the tracks, the ele­phants were hit around mid­night on Satur­day, Novem­ber 18, as they searched for food. Am­chang Wildlife sanc­tu­ary is nearby, but As­sam for­est of­fi­cials in­sisted that the ele­phants did not nor­mally ven­ture onto the tracks. The Asian ele­phant has been an en­dan­gered species for over 30 years now, their num­bers de­clin­ing by an es­ti­mated 50 per cent over the past seven decades or so. In­dia is home to just over 27,000 jum­bos, with nearly 6,000 liv­ing in As­sam. Loss of habi­tat is one of the pri­mary rea­sons for the de­clin­ing ele­phant pop­u­la­tion and con­ser­va­tion­ists warn that the pres­sure ex­erted by hu­man en­croach­ment con­tin­ues to force ele­phants to seek out new routes, lead­ing to such deadly en­coun­ters.

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