Wild tusker killed as train mows it down at Kanjikode

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Incident on the Madukkarai stretch in the Walayar forests

A wild tusker presumed to be around 30 years was killed on Friday morning after the Mangaluru-Chennai West Coast Express knocked it down while it was crossing the tracks near Kanjikode here.

The incident took place a little away from the Kanjikode railway station inside the Walayar forests, bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala around 5.20 a.m. The incident was reported by the engine driver to the authorities. The spot is 7 km from the Palakkad Railway Junction.

Under the impact, the elephant was thrown off the tracks. Forest officials soon reached the spot and took away the carcass.

This is the fifth elephant casualty on the rail tracks between Madukkarai in Tamil Nadu and Kanjikode in Kerala since January.

As per railway data, 27 elephants had been killed on the stretch in the past 16 years. The incident comes against the backdrop of the Forest Department putting on hold a rail-fencing project that may prevent wild elephants from falling victim to speeding trains on the Kanjikode-Walayar forest belt, owing to the refusal of the Railway Ministry to share expenditure.

The department is seeking at least half of the project cost of ₹8 crore from Railways. During summer, elephants criss-cross the tracks in search of fodder and water. In the absence of a barrier, elephants also raid crops on nearby farms inviting the wrath of farmers.

The Forest Department drafted the project about two years ago for the six-km forests between Kanjikode and Walayar. The attempt was for a joint and time-bound implementation of the project with the involvement of Railways.

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