A passenger train in the West Bengal region of India mowed down a herd of elephants, killing five adult and two baby pachyderm, in an all-too-common collision between the animals and machines. That number could rise as a total of ten elephants were injured in the crash, and some are still being treated.
As if the story wasn't sad enough for elephant lovers, the ones who weren't hurt in the crash actually came back for their friends. "The herd scattered, but returned to the railway tracks and stood there for quite some time before they were driven away by forest guards and railroad workers who rushed to the spot after the accident," Hiten Burman, forestry minister in West Bengal, told The Associated Press.
While the idea of a passenger trains smashing into elephants isn't fathomable in many parts of the world, this scene has actually become quite common in India, even though the animal has a special protected status within the country. This year's death toll stands at 18, the Times of India reported. "It is an irony that elephants are being killed by speeding trains in north Bengal on regular intervals, even though it has been declared as the heritage animal in India and an elephant calf is the mascot of Indian Railways," Animesh Basu, a wildlife activist and coordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, told the AP.