A Madhya Pradesh forest department report has blamed leftover food dumped from pantry cars of trains for triggering accidents that have resulted in deaths of over 100 animals, including five tigers and seven leopards, at Ratapani Tiger Reserve station in Sehore district over the last five years. The 20-km Budhni-Barkheda railway track passes through the sanctuary.
Pradeep Tripathi, the sanctuary’s field director, said the leftover food attracted monkeys and other herbivores to the railway track and they, in turn, drove the big cats there. He added the leftover food was dumped at around eight spots, where the track is very narrow and passes between mountains, and the animals ended up getting trapped and crushed under trains. “This is one of the major reasons behind the death of animals,” said Tripathi, who was among the officers, who prepared the report.
Tripathi said some of the big cats were hit by trains around Gadariya stream, where they would go to have water, near the railway track. “…we are resolving this issue…” Tripathi said the other animals killed near the track include 90 monkeys, deer, and other herbivores over the last five years. He said this year a leopard and a sub-adult tiger died on the track.