Kolkata: The elephant population in the Buxa Tiger reserve has shot up by 50 per cent in three years, as over 210 jumbos were sighted in the sanctuary during a census which ended there today.
Direct counting method was used on the first day of the elephant census, that began nearly ten days back. As many as 104 teams, comprising 1000 forest and other personnel, took part in the process, BTR Field Director R P Saini told PTI.
The final picture would emerge once data from the two other methods - collection of elephant dung and observation from about 80 watch towers in the reserve - are compiled for a detailed analysis, he said, adding the exact number of elephants will be known after three weeks, he said. 140 pachyderms were found in the last elephant census in the reserve in 2007.
Apart from BTR, the census will also be undertaken in Gorumara National Park, Chapramary, Mahananda and Jaldapara sanctuaries among other areas.
In the last census, elephants in these areas in the northern part of the state were estimated to be around 350.
Chief Conservator of Forest Dr S Patel said the exact count of jumbos in north Bengal was expected by next month.
Patel said 27 elephants had died in train accidents in the last four-and-a-half years since the Siliguri-Alipurduar railway line was converted to broadgauge and all, except one, were killed at night by speeding trains, he said.
Seven elephants were killed by a speeding goods train on September 23 following which Union Minister for Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh visited the area.
It was decided that 10 watchtowers will be set-up along the railway track to caution speeding night trains.
Construction of these towers will begin once the Centre approves the proposal, Patel said.