Protect Elephants From Train Strikes

Target: Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways for India

Goal: Advocate for widespread installation of AI elephant surveillance systems near railways to prevent deadly collisions.

The Indian elephant population has dwindled in recent years due to widespread habitat loss, which has put these majestic animals on the endangered species list. But a rising threat is injuring and killing many elephants as well: train collisions. To date, an estimated 200 elephants in India have lost their lives in a decade’s time because of train strikes.

India’s railways span over 80,000 miles. They cross through many areas that elephants use as foraging grounds, which put these irresistible forces and immovable objects on frequent collision courses. Some measures have been implemented to stop this deadly trend, such as train speed limits and flyover pathways that elephants can use for safe passage. Enforcement of the former and the high cost of the latter have hindered success, however.

An effort harnessing a newer technology is showing promise. Electronic surveillance systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have been deployed in regions of India. These systems can spot close-by elephant activity with nearly perfect accuracy. Sensors will send alerts to key personnel like train drivers and line controllers.

Sign the petition below to urge widespread adoption of these systems that can help mitigate a serious threat to one of India’s natural crown jewels.


Dear Minister Vaishnaw,

Train collisions have claimed the lives of hundreds of endangered Indian elephants and have seriously injured countless more. Consult with any wildlife rehabilitation agency within the nation and you will find similar stories of gravely hurt elephants who must be nursed back to health. While flyovers are one potential solution, they have proven to be cost-prohibitive.

The AI-enabled elephant detection surveillance systems deployed by Tamil Nadu and other areas have shown high success rates and could be well worth the investment. By some estimates, these sensors have prevented dozens of elephant and train collisions daily: collisions that could harm not only wildlife but train employees and passengers as well. Please invest in a technology that could save lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont

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