Sound of bees to ward off elephants from rly tracks in Bengal

Alipurduar (WB), Feb 13: The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is trying to check elephant fatalities on its tracks by installing devices that would play the recorded sound of buzzing bees, a natural bete noire of the behemoths, a railway official informed.

The NFR has decided to implement the idea for its Alipurduar division in West Bengal after the plan turned out to be successful in Rangiya division of Assam, he said, adding that the locals have also confirmed that swarming bees drive the elephants away.

“A test is being conducted by playing a similar buzzing sound through an amplifier at a few spots to keep the animals at bay and prevent trains from hitting them,” the official said.

The humming of bees is downloaded from the Internet and played over an amplifier, which can scare elephants upto 600 metres away, he said. The devices are being installed at level crossings and other strategic points along the tracks.

There are 27 elephant corridors under the NFR which covers north Bengal, parts of eastern Bihar and the North East.

The chief public relations officer of the Alipurduar division said, “After the device was installed as part of a pilot project at Goalpara in Rangiya division in mid-2017, not a single elephant was killed in train accident.”

Once an elephant herd is sighted and villagers inform the local staff about its presence, the buzzing sound will be played near the tracks to scare away the animals, the NFR official said.

“It is a huge project and we have plans to install the devices in all the places where rail tracks are located in elephant corridors. Till now it has been a success,” the PRO said.

Last week, five elephants died near the rail tracks at Habaipur near Lumding reserve forest in Assam when the Guwahati-Silchar Express hit them. (PTI)

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