Increasing deaths of elephants on railway tracks spark concern in Karnataka

BENGALURU: If the Hospet-Tinnaighat and Miraj-Londa rail lines have become veritable deathtraps for wildlife, another line — the Sakleshpur-Mangaluru track — too turns hazardous for elephants and other wildlife. Two elephant calves were killed at Yedakumeri in Shiradi Ghats of Sakleshpur taluk on Monday. Forest officials said they will call for a joint meeting with railway authorities to address the issue.

However, wildlife conservationists have called for strict action against the South Western Railway (SWR) authorities in the wake of increasing incidents of killings on rail tracks. They added that SWR has not been implementing mitigation measures or adhering to the guidelines given by the Railway Board for operations in forest areas.Yedakumeri is an important elephant corridor area and almost 30 elephants are based here with breeding mothers and calves.

TRACK-FREE GHATS

Wildlife activist G Veeresh added, “Action should be taken against the Railway department and further, ban railway tracks in Western Ghats. In Karnataka, rail kills are becoming common while the forest department seems to be totally helpless in taking any sort of action against railways.”

ELEPHANT CORRIDOR

For the herds, the forests of Bisle, Kaginere, and Kenchana Kumbri is their home. Unfortunately, the seven villages of Bisle, Mavinoor, Boranamane, Yathahalla, Bajemane, Kaginere and Balehalla too fall in this elephant corridor. All the villagers have already given consent to vacate their homes and make way for the elephants. According to the Hassan Wildlife Society, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has promised to the farmers about their permanent relocation during his election campaign.

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