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3 March, 2020 12:28:05 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 March, 2020 06:34:31 PM

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Protecting endangered species a major concern

Human intervention destroying country’s forests
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Protecting endangered species a major concern

The forest department is worried about protecting endangered species, including the elephant, because of human intervention in its habitat, including corridors for their movement. Besides, deforestation, construction of roads, railways, and establishment of housing are destroying forests.

Even camps for Rohingyas are major threat to elephants.

According to experts, 13 species of wildlife have already become extinct from Bangladesh, and it would be very difficult to protect critically endangered species, such as elephants and gharials, if proper initiatives are not taken immediately. Besides, at least 15 Royal Bengal tigers have so far been killed by poachers or have died between 2008 and 2019, sources said.

Against this backdrop, Bangladesh will observe "Wildlife Day" today (Tuesday) with the theme "sustaining all life on earth". “We have taken up a master plan to protect the country’s extremely endangered species. Habitats of elephants are being indiscriminately destroyed. So, it would be tough to protect elephants in Bangladesh,” Jahidul Kabir, director of the Sheikh Kamal Wildlife Centre, under the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD), told The Independent yesterday (Monday).

A large portion of the wild elephant population in southern Cox’s Bazar is at risk of being wiped out, he said, adding that the mammals are confined to small patches of hilly forests in the Inani-Shilkhali area as Rohingya settlements have taken over their migration corridors that lead to parts of Bandarban and Myanmar.

Elephant corridors are strips of land that the large animals use to move from one habitat patch to another.

According to the 2016 elephant census conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 63 wild elephants were found in the south forest division of Cox’s Bazar, while another 205 were spotted in the country’s other regions, including Bandarban, Sherpur and Mymensingh.

According to Kabir, at least 13 species of wildlife, including the greater one-horned rhino, sweet water crocodile, peacock, wild cow, and buffalo, have become extinct from Bangladesh.

Once there were big cats in 17 districts in Bangladesh and now tigers are found only in the Sunderbans, the wildlife expert said, adding that poaching and human intervention are major threats to the country’s critically endangered wildlife.

Kabir also said the Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU), which was established in 2012 to control crime, has conducted 468 drives, including setting up 30 mobile courts, between 2012 and January 2020.

“A total of 290 cases have so far been filed and the team has detained 107 people involved in crime within this period. Besides, the WCCU has recovered 31,172 wild animals between 2012 and January 2020,” he said in reply to a query.

A total of 265 people have been injured in attacks of Royal Bengal tigers between 2008 and 2019, Kabir said, adding that tigers have come to the locality from their habitat 150 times and attacked 375 heads of cattle.

The wildlife habitat, having sufficient food, should be ensured so that the animals can live without human intervention, the expert said.

MK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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