Railways to use a ‘weakness’ of elephants to save them from being killed on tracks

Railway tracks are known to be death traps for elephants. Elephants are known to die at an alarming frequency on railway tracks.op

Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that the loudspeakers along railway tracks between Haridwar and Dehradun will play the buzzing sound of bees to dissuade elephants from venturing into the tracks thus endangering their safety.

Northeast Frontier Railway had adopted such a ‘Plan Bee’ last year and now, the plan is set to be adopted by Indian Railways.

The mechanism was hailed as an innovative way to save the lives of elephants. Various studies have been conducted which show that elephants are terrified of bees. A team of researchers in Africa used beehives, real ones and fake, to keep away pachyderms from farmland. Asian Elephants also react similarly to their African counterparts.

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Railway tracks are known to be death traps for elephants. Elephants are known to die at an alarming frequency on railway tracks. Earlier this year, Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, stated that 58 elephants have died on railways tracks in the past three years.

“Fifty-eight elephants were killed in the last three years on railway tracks. In cases of killing elephants, wildlife on railway tracks, zonal railways investigate the incidents and conduct inquiry wherever necessary. Based on the finding in the investigation, a number of preventive measures are taken by the zones in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Forests,” the minister had informed in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

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