Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said that the 'Bangabandhu Wildlife Conservation Corridor' would play a vital role in conserving elephants, tigers and other wildlife.
“The possibility of creating an inter-country uninterrupted movement or corridor for Asian elephants and Bengal tigers from India to Kasalang in the Chattogram Hill Tracts and Sangu via Myanmar is being explored. Once this is done, the connection between the fragmented habitats of elephants and tigers in these three countries will be established,” he added.
He further said, “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. Through this we can go one step further towards implementing the cherished dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
The Environment Minister made the statement while speaking as the chief guest at the National Result Sharing and Consultation Workshop on the Feasibility Study of Transboundary Wildlife Corridor in Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts and Cox's Bazar with Myanmar and India, organised by the Department of Forests on Thursday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
The Forest Minister said that the forest lands of Bangladesh are constantly shrinking for settlement within the forest lands, conversion of forest lands into agricultural lands and conducting various development activities.
“At the same time wildlife is losing their habitat and pasture. As a result, human-wildlife conflicts continue to escalate, killing both humans and wildlife,”
He mentioned that according to a 2016 survey conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the total number of Asian elephants in Bangladesh is about 268 and according to the 2018 survey, the total number of Bengal tigers in Bangladesh is about 114.
“These important animals will soon be lost from Bangladesh if immediate conservation measures are not taken. In order to take immediate steps in this regard, the Bangladesh Forest Department under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change undertook the 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,” he further said.
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.