Guwahati, Dec 18: An elephant calf aged around seven months was killed after being hit by a speeding train in Assam's Jorhat district in the wee hours of Friday, an official said.
With Friday's incident, five elephants have been killed this year so far after being mowed down by train in Assam.
Forest officials said that at around 3.30 a.m., the male elephant was knocked down by the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express while he was trying to cross the tracks at Bhelaguri under the Mariani forest range. The calf died on the spot, 3 km from the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
A post-mortem has been conducted and other formalities are being carried out. The calf died six days after a pregnant elephant and a male calf died of suspected poisoning in Assam's Karbi Anglong district. The official said that 71 elephants have died in Assam due to various causes so far this year.
He said that while three wild elephants died due to poisoning, 18 others died due to lightning, 24 died of natural causes, 17 due to unknown reasons, five in train accidents, three due to electrocution, while one succumbed to death due to injury.
According to official records, over 91 elephants have been electrocuted in Assam between 2011 and 2019.
In May, 18 elephants were killed by a lightning strike in Nagaon district. Assam has the second largest elephant population in India after Karnataka, according to the last census conducted in 2017. However, due to deforestation and fodder crisis, human-elephant conflict is rising in Assam.
A total of 890 humans have died in human-elephant conflicts during the last 10 years in Assam, with Sonitpur district recording the highest deaths at 124, followed by Udalguri at 118 and Goalpara at 78.
In 2021 so far, over 100 people have died due to elephant attacks in various parts of Assam, according to wildlife officials.