Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2017
Special Mention: Locha Deb
Open Category, Conservation Photography
Off Track: In West Bengal’s Alipurduar district, the driver and passengers of a stalled Malda-bound train hang out of doorways and windows to watch an elephant cross the railway track. This ‘killer-line’ runs through the Buxa Tiger Reserve and has been responsible for the macabre deaths of well over 60 wild elephants in the past decade. Speed limits imposed to minimise such accidents are blatantly ignored and offenders are rarely brought to book. Ironically, the Indian Railways mascot is an elephant named Bholu. The linear alignments, including roads, canals, and railway lines, that brutally cleave through India’s Protected Areas have caused grievous harm to the country’s biodiversity. Yet, even as the death count of wildlife rises, new linear alignment projects are proposed and approved in and through our fragmented, notified wildernesses. This image drives home the urgent need to preserve the integrity of our parks and sanctuaries at all costs.