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Train mows down, kills 5 elephants in east India


03:31 PM December 30th, 2012

December 30th, 2012 03:31 PM

A villager offers flowers to a female adult elephant lying dead on a paddy field in Panbari village, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Gauhati, India in this September 1, 2012 file photo. The elephant was hit by a train and killed while crossing railway tracks with a herd of wild Asiatic elephants. AP

BHUBANESHWAR, India—A passenger train has plowed into and killed five elephants of a herd crossing railroad tracks in eastern India.

R.N. Mohapatra, a railroad spokesman, said the train struck the animals early Sunday in the Rambha forest area, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state.

J.D. Sharma, chief conservator of the state’s wildlife department, accused the railroad authorities of ignoring his department’s warning that trains should slow down because a herd of elephants was moving in the area.

Mohapatra said the warning came too late.

Dozens of elephants have died in India in recent years after being struck while crossing railroad tracks that often run through national parks and forests.

India’s wild elephant population was recently estimated at about 26,000.

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