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Tigress killed by train in Dudhwa National Park

A tigress was killed after being knocked down by a running train passing through the Dudhwa National Park.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 19:28 IST

A tigress was killed after being knocked down by a running train passing through the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Sunday.

"It was a female tiger, about four to five years old, that somehow got hit by the train that was on its routine daily trip through the forest on Friday night," park director MP Singh said.

Singh had rushed to the spot in the park, along the Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border about 250 km from Lucknow, shortly after he was informed about the accident by forest guards who first noticed the dead tigress on Saturday.

"This was the 35th animal to get killed on account of the train's passage through this wildlife park over the past 10 years," Singh told IANS on telephone.

"However, it was the first time that a tiger had met its end in this manner, so we have registered a case of criminal neglect against the divisional railway manager, the engine driver and the guard of the train."

The body of the tigress was sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Barielly for a post mortem on Sunday.

What has irked park officials is the "utter apathy" of railway officials towards this problem.

"We have been writing to the railways for years but they do not seem to pay any heed to our request for either making an alternative route so as to avoid running trains through the core area of the forest, or to at least bring down the speed of the train," complained Singh.

Railway officials, however, maintained they had not received any communication in this regard from the forest department.

"There are four pairs of trains passing through Dudhwa Park for decades and this is the first time we were hearing of a tiger getting knocked down by a train," said Lucknow divisional railway manager Amitabh Lal.

"After all, Dudhwa is not the only Indian wildlife reserve through which trains pass. This happens in some of the Northeastern states too," he said.

Diverting the rail route "was not easy in this region because the outer periphery of the park runs along the Nepal border", Lal said.

Wildlife experts, meanwhile, were not prepared to buy the official line.

"I cannot imagine a tiger getting knocked down by a train. I have heard about elephants meeting that fate, but an agile and swift animal like a tiger is most unlikely to die because of being overrun by a train," wildlife conservationist Kaushlendra Singh said.

Dudhwa had so far remained overshadowed because of the bigger and more famous Corbett National Park, which has now gone to the new hill state of Uttranchal.

Rich in wildlife with an estimated tiger population of more than 80 and spread over a sprawling 1,200 square miles, Dudhwa National Park is known for the best grasslands in the country, comparable with those in Africa.

First Published: Apr 16, 2006 19:28 IST