Panna Dutta, Moulvi Bazar
The wildlife in Lawachara National Park is rejuvenating with vibrancy and spirit following the ban on the entrance of any tourist during the coronavirus pandemic.
Without being disturbed by any outsiders, wildlife is now thriving there. The wild animals now roam freely even through the railway tract and on the roads across the forest. The Lawachara seems to revive with a new chapter of life with the frolicking of several species of monkeys on tree branches and the chirping of thousands of birds.
People who live inside the forest said the Lawachara is enriched with many near-extinct animals including the Langurs and rare plants and shrubs. Unabated felling and plundering of large, old trees, movement of trains with piercing sound of horn, movement of vehicles through the roads inside the forest, the light of the headlights at night, intruding of excessive number of tourists and travellers inside the forest, construction of hotels and cottages on the hillocks surrounding the forest etc. are all threatening the existence of the wildlife and plants of the National Park. But, the closure of the entrance of visitors and the suspension of movement of vehicles through the forest during the Coronavirus pandemic has proved a boon for the wildlife. Without any disturbance from anywhere, the wild animals are now roaming freely all around the forest areas.
Saju Marsiang, a resident of Lawachara Punji said, “Earlier Lawachara was crowded with a large number of tourists every day. After the ban on entrance of any tourist inside the forest during the pandemic period, Lawachara has got a new dimension. Alarming call of the Langur, frolicking of money on the branches of the trees, chirping of birds, the shrill of wild-cockerel in the evening seem to vibrate the forest with new shape of lives.”
Nurul Mohaimin Milton, General Secretary of Moulvi Bazaar Environment Journalists' Forum said that the Lawachara National Park should be kept closed for a certain period of time in every year to save the forest and to ensure safe breeding of wild animals and birds. "By learning lesson from the Corona break period, the authorities of the Lawachara Park may take necessary steps to keep the park closed for all sort of tourists for a certain time," he suggested.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Divisional Forest Officer of Wildlife Management and Nature Preservation Section told the Bangladesh Post that animals of the forest got panicky due to movement of people through the forest during the pre-Covid period. Now the animals are in ease and relieved because of absence of any people or tourists inside the forest. He further mentioned that the wild animals and birds usually breed during June to August every year. Steps should be taken to ban the entrance of tourists and people inside the forest during this three-month period of time.
According to the sources of Lawachara Wildlife division, some 1,250 hectares of forest in Kamalganj and Sreemongol upazilas were declared as Lawachara National Park in 1996. The Lawchara is enriched with 167 species of plants, four species of Amphibians, six species of Reptiles, 246 species of birds and 20 species of mammals. Of those animals, there are rare Hoolock Gibon (Ulluk), Prebytis entellus (Hanuman), short tailed monkey, Bengal slow Loris (Lajjaboti monkey), Porcupine (Sojaru), etc.