There’s so much about the picture below that is mind-boggling, horrific and sad all at once.
You really need to start by understanding that elephants are wild creatures in India, and that elephants roam. In herds.
So just as trains in Australia unfortunately hit the occasional deer, kangaroo, or beloved pet, in India, they hit elephants.
In Jalpaiguri district, there’s even an “elephant corridor”. Twelve trains run through it – fast – and this year alone, they’ve been responsible for the deaths of 17 elephants.
None of this make the following image any easier to view.
It’s the remains of one of four elephants that were killed by a single speeding passenger train in northeast India Wednesday.
Officials said the animals were scattered in so many pieces, they first thought the toll was seven.
Somehow, the poor creature above was carried onto a railway bridge. It took 12 hours to cut the body into pieces and clear the track.
Wildlife campaigners have been pleading with transportation officials for years to, if not minimise train traffic through the corridors, at least slow it to 40km/h between 4pm and 5am, when the animals are most mobile.
The pictures and stories of these accidents are numerous, but rarely get worldwide attention. Maybe this one is shocking enough to start something and her death doesn’t just become another roadkill statistic.
On a positive note, one of the elephants survived. A female, she was knocked into a ravine, so a group of vets have descended down and set up camp to care for her around the clock.
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