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Bangladesh explores tri-nation corridor for elephants, tigers

File photo used for representational purpose. (Collected)
File photo used for representational purpose. (Collected)

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Bangladesh is exploring the establishment of a transboundary corridor with India and Myanmar for the uninterrupted movement of Asian elephants and Bengal tigers for their safety and conservation, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md. Shahab Uddin has said.

The tri-nation corridor is being explored from India to the Chittagong Hill Tracts and from Sangu to Myanmar, the minister said on Thursday.

His statement came at the National Result Sharing and Consultation Workshop on the Feasibility Study of Transboundary Wildlife Corridor in Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Cox's Bazar with Myanmar and India organised by the Department of Forests at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, reports BSS.

If this can be done, the connection between the fragmented habitats of elephants and tigers in the three countries will be established. It will play a vital role in the reproduction of these two animals as well as in the conservation of other wildlife in the region, he said.

"Through this, we can go one step further towards implementing the cherished dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” he added.

He also mentioned the government’s plan to establish a sanctuary called 'Bangabandhu Wildlife Conservation Corridor', which will play a huge role in conserving elephants, tigers, and other wildlife.

The minister said the forest lands of Bangladesh are constantly shrinking for human settlement, conversion of forest lands into agricultural lands, and development activities.

At the same time wildlife is losing their habitats and pastures, he said resulting in an escalation of human-wildlife conflicts killing both humans and wildlife.

According to a 2016 survey by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the total number of Asian elephants in Bangladesh was about 268 and according to the 2018 survey, the total number of Bengal tigers in Bangladesh was about 114.

He said these animals will soon be lost from Bangladesh if immediate conservation measures are not taken.

Shahabuddin said Bangladesh Forest Department undertook a feasibility study in June this year with the aim of smoothing the domestic and international movement of Asian elephants and Bengal tigers.

We have to work in a coordinated manner to protect the wildlife that has survived so far in our country.

Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar, Additional Secretary (Administration) Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Chief Conservator of Forests Md. Amir Hossain Chowdhury and others spoke as special guests at the workshop chaired by Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Md. Mostafa Kamal. IUCN Bangladesh's Country Representative Rakibul Amin presented the overview of the project.

The keynote paper was presented by M. Monirul H. Khan, National Expert of Corridor Project.

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