Today is World Elephant Day, and the threat to elephants has increased

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Wild elephants in the country suffer major challenges to their existence, owing to frequent elephant kills and the diminishing of their habitat in the absence of meaningful government protection measures.

Since 2001, a total of 120 elephants have perished for various reasons, including direct shootings, according to data from the Chattogram Circle’s Wildlife and Nature Conservation Department.

 

 

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In the previous five years, poachers have murdered at least 12 elephants in the forests surrounding Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram (South).

In 2018, the government created a 10-year “Bangladesh Elephant Conservation Action Plan (BECAP)” with six goals to help save the fast-dwindling elephant population.

Unfortunately, none of the Forest Department’s BECAP objectives have yet to be executed, increasing elephant dangers.

Reduce human-elephant conflict and poaching, conserve elephant habitats, and undertake research and improve understanding in elephant conservation are among the goals.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2016 elephant census, there were 248 Asian elephants residing in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong Hill Tracts, and other areas including Sherpur. The assessment focused on 12 recognized pathways that the elephant herd uses to go from one forest to the next in search of food.

The Asian elephant, a species found in Bangladesh, has been classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List because, in addition to poaching, settlements in forests and hills pose a severe threat to their survival.

“The number of elephant deaths we witness each year is truly disturbing,” noted eminent wildlife biologist Monirul H Khan, who called for prompt action in The Daily Star.

Between 1995 and 2016, the country lost 90 elephants due to direct killing, according to Forest Department data.

Despite the regular kills, the Forest Department has been unable to prosecute any criminals since the government passed the Wildlife Conservation Act in 2012.

Elephant killing is a non-bailable offense, with offenders serving a minimum of one year and a maximum of seven years in prison. A fine of Tk 1 lakh at the least and Tk 10 lakh at the most is also levied for the offense.

CORRIDORS THREATENED

Three of the 12 recognized passageways in Cox’s Bazar have been obstructed in the previous three years due to massive constructions and Rohingya settlements.

The under-construction railway lines linking Dohazari in Chattogram to Ghumdum in Cox’s Bazar will jeopardize another corridor, Chunati-Fasiakhali-Medakocchopia, according to forest department authorities.

Encroachment, the construction of brick kilns, gardening, and fish farming within reserve forests are all threats to the remaining corridors.

“We must rehabilitate elephant habitats,” Monirul, a zoology lecturer at Jahangirnagar University, stated. For their safe transit, the corridors must be guarded.

“To ensure exemplary punishment of violators, we must use the conservation law. We also need to promote awareness among the general public.”

Elephants will not have secure habitation and their population will not be safeguarded unless the government includes it on the national priority list, according to Raquibul Amin, country director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

“Three of the twelve corridors have already been closed. There are corridors that go through private property. As a result, we must ensure that elephants are secure when they travel through private property “he stated

Chief conservator of forest Md Amir Hosain Chowdhury said they were doing a feasibility assessment to locate more elephant corridors.

“To ensure exemplary punishment of criminals, the conservation law must be applied. In addition, we must promote public awareness.”

Elephants will not have secure habitation and their population will not be safeguarded, according to Raquibul Amin, country director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“Three of the twelve tunnels have been blocked already. Corridors run across private property. As a result, we must ensure that elephants are safe when crossing private property “He expressed himself.

Chief Conservator of Forests Md Amir Hosain Chowdhury said they were doing a feasibility assessment to find more elephant pathways.

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