With reports of elephants getting mowed down by speeding trains on the rise, Indian Railway officials may have finally hit on a jackpot solution. So far, the only deterrent to these deaths had been constructing ramps and underpasses in the 88 identified elephant corridors in India – an extremely expensive and time-consuming measure. Especially since 39 of these corridors have railway tracks running through them.

However, the Northeast Frontier Railway's latest initiative called 'Plan Bee' (pun intended) may just keep India's heritage animals safe at a fraction of the cost. A device has been fitted in two railway crossings in Guwahati, Assam that produce the sound of a swarm of buzzing bees. The buzz can be heard at a distance of 600 meters and elephants, not relishing the prospect of getting 'stung', change their route. The device costs Rs 2,000 per unit and is proving to be quite effective in preventing accidents. 

According to the environment ministry, a total of 655 elephants were killed between 2009-10 and 2016-17, out of which 120 died due to train accidents. Another report by the Elephant Taskforce, commissioned by the Ministry of Environment, estimated that in the past one decade, over 100 elephants lost their lives in train collisions. 

With India being home to about 60% of the world's elephant population such creative, cost-effective measures can ensure mutual coexistence. Uttarkhand's Rajaji National Park has often been cited as a good example to tackle the issue with an innovative solution. The park has an 18km railway track running through it and was once called the 'Elephant Killer Track'. However, the area has seen no elephant casualty for a decade courtesy vigilant patrolling to monitor the movement of elephant herds near the track, warning signs for train drivers and levelling of steep embankments.