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Laying the Wild Elephants to Rest

An Indian village woman places floral offerings on the body of a dead elephant near Deepor Beel wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Gauhati, India. The female wild elephant, estimated at around 5 years of age, died after being hit Thursday night by a goods train, as an elephant herd was crossing a railway track. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Laying the Wild Elephants to Rest

A passenger train in eastern India ploughed into a herd of elephants, killing seven including two calves, as they walked across the tracks in a forest, authorities have said.

Dozens of elephants have died in recent years after being hit while crossing railroad tracks that run through India's national parks and forests. In December, a train killed five elephants in neighbouring Odisha (formerly Orissa) state.

The crash was the worst of its kind in recent memory, said Hiten Burman, forestry minister in West Bengal. Ten other elephants were seriously injured and the death toll could rise, he said.