New Delhi, Jan 8: Alarmed by the death of nine elephants after they were knocked down by trains in two separate incidents, the environment ministry Tuesday decided to electronically tag all elephants, particularly in high train-traffic areas, to avoid such incidents.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan held a meeting with railway officials following the accidental death of six elephants in Odisha and three in West Bengal within a week.
“It was decided to start a pilot scheme to electronically tag all elephants particularly in high traffic areas, so that wildlife and forest personnel could keep track of their movements, and warn railway officials well in time to enable them to avoid accidents,” said a senior ministry official.
“Often the time lag between spotting of the elephant, and the information reaching the driver of the train was too little to enable effective action to prevent accidents. Once elephants are electronically tagged, forest personnel could track their movements, and keep them from harm,” he said.
It was also decided to update the list of well-known vulnerable patches for wildlife, and convey these to the railways to enable them to give directions for train drivers to slow down their speed in these patches in the normal course.
“A further decision was taken that in prominent wildlife areas, forest officials could be posted at railway control rooms to coordinate with, and keep railway staff informed regarding the movement of wild life, particularly elephants, to enable railway authorities to take preventive action well in advance,” he said.