News outlets in India reported last month, a mutilated carcass of an 18-month-old tiger was found near the Bichia Gate railway track, in the Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh. The tiger was killed on the spot by a speeding passenger train.
According to the Forest Department, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against the train driver, who is yet to be identified. Forest Officer G. P. Singh confirmed that an autopsy was performed on the same day by a panel of three doctors to ascertain the cause of the death. (A FIR is a written document prepared by police organizations when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence.)
Trains running on this particular track have proven to be death traps, killing countless animals including several elephants, in the past few years. These tragedies continue to take place despite enforcing speeding limits through reserves and protected areas.
Normally, trains are allowed to run inside reserved areas at a maximum speed of 30 km per hour and 20 km per hour in accident-prone areas. However, train drivers regularly flout these speed limits. The standard practice of continuously whistling as a train passes through reserves is, likewise, rarely followed. This callousness has resulted in dozens of wild animal deaths in the past decade.
The Forest Department has repeatedly filed FIRs and urged railway authorities to make their drivers aware of the speed limit and ensure its enforcement. The Forest Department along with wildlife NGOs have made several requests to the railway ministry to stop trains from running on these tracks. Yet it appears that the authorities have turned a deaf ear to their pleas.
And on the morning of August 20th, another tiger was killed by a train from the railway line running through Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.