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Railway bee buzzers to keep jumbos at bay

Statesman News Service | Alipurduar |

To avoid elephant deaths and to keep elephants off railway tracks, the Alipurduar division of the North East Frontier Railway (NFR) on Thursday introduced a device which generates the sound of buzzing bees at two rail gates in the division.

The device, known as a ‘Honey Bee Buzzer’ has been installed at the railway gates bearing numbers 171 and 126 under the Chapramiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Jalpaiguri district and under the Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest in Alipurduar district respectively.

The device has been connected with loud microphones which will be audible to the jumbos standing 300 to 350 meters away from the railway tracks, it is learnt. According to railway sources, the Honey Bee Buzzer has successfully served the railways in Assam and has encouraged the Alipurduar Railway Division authorities to implement the same technique to avoid elephant deaths through a corridor that passes through the Dooars and the Terai regions.

“We have introduced the device in an experimental basis at two railway gates in our division. If we get good results, we will add the buzzers in all the railway gates in the forest areas. We hope the device will be a success,” said the Alipurduar Divisional Railway Manager, Chandra Vir Raman.

“Whenever, an elephant, single or in herds, pas by near the railway tracks, the railway gate keepers deployed at the rail gates will press the device and it will start buzzing, resulting in the elephants to flee to save themselves from bee stings,” Mr Raman added. The forest department has appreciated the initiative of the Railways.

“The matter was discussed in the last coordination meeting held with Railway officials. We thank them for introducing the device. We hope the device would be of great help,” said the Deputy Field Director of the BTR, Kalyan Rai. “The elephants may however be accustomed to the sound of the buzzer after repeated use of the device,” Mr Rai added.