Gujarat Forest Dept Initiates String Of Measures To Stem Lion Deaths On Rail Tracks - Vibes Of India

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Gujarat Forest Dept Initiates String Of Measures To Stem Lion Deaths On Rail Tracks

| Updated: April 13, 2024 12:03

Following a spate of deaths of lions on rail tracks over the past six months in Gujarat’s Amreli district, the forest department has installed high mast lights on a portion of the busy track for better visibility that could possibly prevent train-lion collisions.

At least seven Asiatic lions have been run over by trains between July 2023 and January 2024, mostly in the dark, before sunrise and after sunset, which prompted the forest department to take a string of steps, including installing solar-powered LED lights along a 1-km stretch of the busy Pipavav-Surendranagar railway line near Borala village in Savarkundla.

Savarkundla and Lilia are the corridors used by lions settled in other parts of the area and are therefore busy corridors.

“Around 40 lamp posts have been erected on one side of the tracks to keep the area illuminated at night so that loco pilots can see any lion approaching or sitting on the embankment of the track,” a forest official said.

The solar lights are fitted with sensors, which make the lights brighter if any animal or human movement is detected in its range. Also, this lighting system is fully automatic, meaning they will switch on and switch off on their own.

The Pipava-Surendranagar railway track is the lifeline of Pipavav port on Rajula coast of Amreli and witnesses a few dozen trains, most of them goods trains, plying on it every day.

Earlier this week, the railways agreed to put caution orders in lion hotspot areas, restricting speed of trains to 40 km per hour from sunset to sunrise.

The department has also been clearing grass and shrubs from along the track so its staffers as well as loco pilots can spot any lion movement along the tracks. It has also installed at least 23 watchtowers for its staff at strategic locations along the tracks, offering them a view of a larger landscape.

The department is also trying to implement some AI-enabled solutions to prevent lion deaths on tracks. Trackers have been deployed, whose job it is to patrol tracks and report any movement of lions near the tracks. It has also installed 49 signages indicating that the area is a lion territory to spread awareness among new loco pilots. A joint WhatsApp group of railway and forest officers has also been created to share real-time information of movement of trains on this line.

There are nine lion hotspots along the Amreli section of Pipavav-Surendranagar railway line, where solar-powered LED lights, similar to street lights in cities, are to be installed, officials said.

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