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4:57 am | April 14, 2024
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wildlife no longer safe in forests bangladesh forest minister
Bangladesh Environmental Problems Md. Safiquzzaman

Wildlife no longer safe in forests: Bangladesh Forest Minister

Wildlife no longer safe in forests:  Bangladesh Forest Minister

The Bangladeshi Minister of Forests, Environment, and Climate Change recently expressed concerns about human settlement slowly encroaching on wildlife habitats.

He says, ‘Their habitat is no longer safe for wild animals. Indigenous people lived in the mountains, but displaced people later inhabited the area, forcing animals to leave their homes. Where will the animals go now? He said this in a discussion meeting organized by the MOFECC, Bangladesh, in Dhaka recently.

In the meeting, the example of destroying wildlife sanctuaries came up in the discussion. Professor of the Zoology Department of Jahangirnagar University, Mostafa Feroze, said about Tanguar Haor, ‘The birds that come to Tanguar Haor are wild. But it is a tourist spot. It was supposed to be a sanctuary under our forest department.’

Mukit Mazumdar Babu, the founder of Prakriti and Jeevan Foundation, expressed concern about the destruction of the 144-acre Shalban in Purbachal’s 24–25 sectors despite protection efforts. The industry is taking place these days around the country’s safari parks.

Mukit Mazumdar called for the declaration of two kilometers around the safari parks as protected areas.

In his thematic presentation, Jahangir Alam, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s country representative, showed 31 wild animals have become extinct. One-quarter of extinctions are due to hunting and trade. He said, according to our report, birds like tigers and cockatoos are at the top of the trade, followed by reptiles like turtles and tortoises.

Two thousand three hundred metric tons of shark fins were imported from Bangladesh to Hong Kong. This shows how many sharks are being killed.”

The minister stated that the government would consider the matter and collaborate with the Land Ministry to establish Tanguar Haor as a wildlife sanctuary. “I’ll talk to the Deputy Commissioner of those districts to ensure that no industry is built around the Bangabandhu Safari Park,” he said.

He highlighted the government’s forest and wildlife conservation initiative and said the wildlife crime prevention unit works regularly. The Hungarian authorities use camera tracking systems to survey tigers and monitor drones. A ‘red list’ has been made to protect endangered wildlife.

He believes that safeguarding the forest and its wildlife can only happen by preserving their natural habitats and allowing for the free movement of animals.

Zahidul Kabir, the Deputy Chief Forest Conservator, discussed the forest department’s initiatives, achievements, and challenges in preserving wildlife and sanctuaries.

He said, ‘We have managed to bring 4 thousand 578 square kilometers of forest under conservation. Despite our efforts in the fisheries department to preserve various areas, inadequate mapping prevents us from designating them as internationally protected zones.”

The Deputy Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Habibun Nahar, noted that the individuals discussing the issue need more experience interacting with wildlife in wooded regions. She suggested talking to people who do and conduct activities in biodiverse areas.

Nahar also voiced concern about prioritizing big trees for profit, leaving no food or shelter options for small birds to survive.

She also said, “I have heard of a zoo in India whose animals are taken from Bangladesh. Someone has done that. People from all departments are with it. If they are unaware, we cannot do anything by meeting here.”

Amir Hossain Chowdhury, the head of the forest conservation department, said that she implored individuals to raise awareness about the harm of consuming wild animals, such as deer meat, and the impact on the birds’ habitat before the tree and bamboo cutting.

Secretary of the MOFECC Bangladesh, Farhina Ahmed, also spoke.

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