Three baby elephants killed by Sri Lankan train

June 18, 2011 (AFP) – Three baby elephants were killed when they were hit by a passenger train in Sri Lanka on Saturday, an official said. The trio were crossing the tracks in a forested area near Ambanpola, 93 miles (150 kilometres) north of Colombo, when they were struck by a passenger train bound for the capital, railway general manager Wije Samarasinghe said.

“This is the worst train accident involving elephants,” Samarasinghe told AFP. “About two months ago, three elephants were hit by another train in the east of the country and two of them died.”

None of the passengers was hurt in the latest incident.

Elephants are considered sacred animals in Sri Lanka, but they increasingly clash with farmers as habitat becomes scarce and are also killed by trains and high-voltage power lines.

At least 100 elephants are killed on the island each year, mostly by farmers, while marauding elephants raiding villages also claim the lives of about 50 people annually.