Elephants are large, beautiful, majestic creatures that almost every child will love from the minute they see a stuffed elephant, an illustration of one in a storybook, or maybe even one in person. But as we get older we realize that elephants suffer so much at the hands of humans. African elephants are threatened by poaching for their ivory tusks, while Asian elephants are threatened by poaching for the use of their skin in jewelry and medicines. Elephants are also often taken from the wild and forced into captivity in zoos, circuses, and the tourism industry. Aside from these very targeted cruelties, elephants are also affected by human-animal conflicts that invade their space and lives.

For instance, in the West Bengali Dooars region in India, 67 elephants have been struck by trains since 2013. Many have died and some were left injured. The Banarhat-Nagrakata route is specifically notorious for hurting elephants because it runs right through the forested area where many elephants live and have to cross the tracks.

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Recently on September 27th, another elephant was badly injured by a train collision. The conductor attempted to stop the train but was only able to slow down and make “minimal” impact. However, the elephant was badly injured and died a few days later. A video of the accident was posted online to highlight the necessity of placing protections for these innocent animals.

Warning: the video below may be distressing to some viewers. Please use discretion.

Elephants should be able to roam through their natural habitat without fear of injury or death over something beyond their control like this. And 67 elephants is too much. For a time, speed limits on the train route were reduced and there were many less incidents, but then the limit was revoked and again there was an increase of elephant injuries and deaths. If you want something to be done, sign this petition asking the Northern Frontier Railways and the Forest Department to figure out a way to make the train pass safely and implement protections for the elephants.

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