Killing of elephants by humans has recently risen alarmingly in Bangladesh. In the last 15 days, at least eight elephant carcasses have reportedly been found in different parts of the country. These elephants have been shot to death or electrocuted in Chattogram, Sherpur, and Cox's Bazar. According to a study by the Forest Department and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a total of 90 elephants were killed in Bangladesh between 2001 and 2017. Meanwhile, around 28 elephants were brutally killed in just 20 months from January 2020 to August 2021. Twenty-three of them were killed in Cox's Bazar alone. And most of them were killed when the elephants came down from the hills in search of food. The recent spree of killing elephants has made it the biggest existential threat for the largest living land mammal in Asia, known as the Asian elephant.
The Asian elephant is nearing to extinction in our country as development projects are continuing unrestrained, shrinking the elephant corridors, leading to the mammals wandering off to local land in search of food, and ending up getting electrocuted or shot. According to experts, there are only 13 countries, which have Asian wild elephants. It is classified as endangered by the IUCN but the country's Forest Department seems to be playing the role of a spectator only. The officials of the department become active when it is about burying the body of an elephant after it is killed. Their lack of actionhas made us question their capacity for protecting wild elephants. We must remember that unless humans are prevented from taking over the lands of the wild animals, and steps are taken to protect elephants, these mammals will inevitably become extinct.
Fariha Tabassum Piya,
Student of Department of Management,
University of Dhaka, Dhaka,
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