Protect habitat of wild elephants: Activists

Human chain by "Pran-Prakriti Surakkhay Sammilito Andolon".

Animal rights activists warned that the endangered wild Asian elephant may go extinct if they continue to be killed in Bangladesh. And it is high time steps be taken to protect natural habitats of wild elephants in the country in addition to measures that would put an end to poaching, activists have said.

They demanded that the government conserve natural water reservoirs and establish an adequate food chain and sanctuaries inside deep forests for the protection of wild elephants.

At a human chain and mass mobilisation program titled “Pran-Prakriti Surakkhay Sammilito Andolon,” held in front of the Chattogram Press Club on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

Associate Professor of Chittagong University Mohammad Shahab Uddin presided the human chain, conducted by ANM Moazzem Hossain Riyadh, associate member of the movement. The event was coordinated by wildlife journalist Aminul Mithu.

Nature and wildlife news portal Bengal Discover, Save the Nature of Bangladesh, Society of Rise for Paws and Claws and 1/24 Social Movement organised the event.

Animal rights activists have expressed grave concern over the repeated unnatural deaths of Asian wild elephants in the country. They demanded exemplary punishments for people responsible and urged the government to take immediate steps to stop the killings of wild elephants.

Activists informed that around 22 wild elephants died last year and four wild elephants died this month. Most of the wild elephants were killed deliberately by shooting, poisoning or electrocution, they alleged.

Placing a five-point demand for the conservation of the pachyderms, the wildlife conservation activists also demanded protecting the existing corridors and natural water holes in the forests.

Anamul Mithu, convener of the programme, said elephants are getting electrocuted, shot to death and poisoned. The way their number is decreasing, they are assumed to go extinct within a decade.

ANM Moazzem Hossain, associate of the event, said: “Development cannot be done by destroying ecosystem. That is why we must conserve our wild elephants. As long as wildlife present in our forests are safe and protected, our ecological balance will remain intact.”

Mohammad Shahabuddin, associate professor, Department of Management, Chittagong University, said: “If this elephant killing spree continues in Bangladesh, there is a danger that the animal will soon become extinct.”

“Elephant conservation initiatives which have already been undertaken need to be reviewed objectively and the conservation activities need to be streamlined so that elephant conservation will be possible more effectively in the days to come,” he added.

The IUCN Red List of Bangladesh categorized Asian elephants as “critically endangered” as the species of wild animal is now at risk of extinction. According to a survey report by the Bangladesh Forest Department and IUCN-2016, three types of elephants – resident, migratory, and captive – are found in Bangladesh. The survey found 268 resident wild elephants, 93 migratory elephants, and 100 captive elephants in Bangladesh.