These startling images show an elephant escaping being hit by a train with a whisker – as it crosses the tracks perilously close to an oncoming train.
The image, taken by wildlife photographer Rupak Dastidar, shows the danger elephants in the Indian forest face after a train line was built that cuts straight through the forest.
‘The tracks pass through a few national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved forests having numerous corridors of wild animals like Indian Elephant and Indian Gaur.
‘The frequency of accidents along the routes of Alipurduar and New jalpaiguri prompted forest officials and railways to try and come up with a solution, cutting trains to 50 mph during the day and just 25kmph at night.
The number of elephant .d.e.a.t.hs and injuries came down later that year, but trains continued to kill elephants despite the restriction.
‘This photo illustrates the danger they face in their own homes.’
Two elephants were hit and k.i.l.led by a passenger train at the end of last year in eastern India, officials said, with the animals’ bodies decorated with flowers before being cremated at the spot.
In the past five years, at least 26 elephants have been .ki.lled and scores more injured by trains on the stretch of track near the Nepal border, according to wildlife officials.