An internal corridor among three Asian countries is on the way to building a safe habitat for wildlife
Md. Shahab Uddin, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Bangladesh, said, “The Bangabandhu Wildlife Conservation Corridor, planned by the government, would play a vital role in conserving elephants, tigers, and other wildlife.”
“To this end, the possibility of creating an inter-country uninterrupted movement or corridor for Asian elephants and Bengal tigers from India to Myanmar via Kasalong and Sangu in the Chattagram Hill Tracts is getting explored.
If this project comes into reality, there will be a connection between the fragmented habitats of elephants and tigers in these three countries,” the Environment Minister added.
The Minister spoke these while addressing as a Chief Guest in a recent seminar at the “National Result Sharing Chattagram, Chattagram Hill Tracts and Cox’s Bazar with Myanmar and India” organized by the Department of Forest, Bangladesh at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Dhaka.
The Environment Minister further said, “If this, corridor gets possible to construct, it will play a vital role in the breeding and reproduction of these two animals (elephants and tigers) and at the same time will play an important role in the conservation of other wildlife in the region. Through this, we can go one step further forward realizing the cherished dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
Other high officials of the ministry were present at the seminar.
Rakibul Amin, Country Representative of IUCN, Bangladesh, described the overall project. M Monirul H Khan, the National Expert on Corridor Project, presented the key-note paper in the Seminar.
The Minister further said, “The forest lands of Bangladesh are constantly shrinking for settlement within the forest lands, converting the forest lands into agricultural lands and usages in various development activities. At the same time, wildlife is losing their habitat and pasture.”
“As a result, human-wildlife conflicts continue to escalate, losing lives in both humans and wildlife. According to a 2016 survey by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the total number of Asian elephants are in Bangladesh is about 268 and according to the 2018 survey, the total number of Bengal tigers are in Bangladesh is about 114,” he added.
” These important animals will soon be lost from Bangladesh if immediate conservation measures are not adopted. To take quick steps in this regard, the Bangladesh Forest Department under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change undertook a feasibility study in June this year (2021) to facilitate the inland and domestic 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,” the Minister continued.
Representatives of the government and non-government organizations and national and international experts expressed their views on various aspects of the project.
Besides Elephant and Tigers, there exist 34 species of amphibians, 109 species of reptiles, 301 species of resident birds, 176 species of migratory birds, 143 species of raging birds, 30 species of extinct birds, 120 species of inland mammals, and three species of marine mammals in an area of 1,47,570 square kilometers.