An enraged herd of elephants blocked railway traffic as a sign of retaliation to the death of a female elephant and her male offspring who were hit by a train on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

The herd was blocking the tracks on the Lalkuan-Kashipur section in the Kumaon region of India’s Uttarakhand.

Passengers had to be sent to their destinations in buses. Few other trains traveling on the same route had to be suspended till noon.

The track was finally cleared after forest officials responded to the scene and drove the animals into the wild.

"We saw an adult elephant and baby elephant lying dead on the railway track. The elephant herd there was very furious. We waited for a while and then drove them away from the track," said Harish Pandey, ranger, Peepal Parao forest range under Terai-Central Forest division in Kumaon.

According to the ranger, the elephants were hit by a speeding Agra Fort train which was headed to Ramnagar from Lalkuan at the early hours on Wednesday.

"When it reached Peepal Parao forest range, 4 km from Rudrapur Sidcul halt, a herd of elephants was crossing the track. The train hit an adult female and its offspring, who died on the spot. After this, the rest of the elephants in the herd got furious and surrounded their bodies, blocking the train traffic," he told Hindustan Times.

The train had to be reversed to Rudrapur Sidcul halt where its passengers were de-boarded and sent to Bazpur, Kashipur, and Ramnagar in buses.

"The killed female elephant was around 40-year old while the calf was about 2 to 3 months old. We informed our seniors and removed their bodies from the track," said Pandey.

"Early warning system is needed to avoid such incidents in the future. Forest department should take initiative and railways, too, should control the speed of the trains," Kumaon based wildlife activist, AG Ansari said.

Similar incidents have been reported in the past. In July 2020, a three-year-old elephant was killed on railway tracks in the Nakraunda area of the Dehradun forest division.

According to the elephant census held last year, the state's elephant population has reached 2026, a 29.9% increase since 2015.

Representational image. Pixabay.

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