Elephant electrocution along border on rise | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Elephant electrocution along border on rise

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Dhaka, Oct 24– Incidents of wild elephants getting electrocuted is on the rise along Bangladesh’s border with India since farmers have started installing generators and electric wires to protect their paddy fields from attacks by elephants coming from across the border by breaking barbed wire fences or crossing rivers.Official sources say two wild elephants were found dead in the frontier area of Sreebardi Upazila in Sherpur in this month (Oct 6 and 8). Both the elephants died after they came into contact with live wires placed on an Aman paddy field to protect crops from animals.
On August 13, another elephant was found dead at Haluahati village in Sreebardi Upazila.
“The elephants come from the Indian side,” said Jahidul Kabir, forest conservator of Wildlife and Nature Conservation said.
He said three elephants were electrocuted recently in Sherpur while another was killed in 2015.
Asian elephants are said migratory animals as they can cover a considerable distance within a short period of time. In forests, elephant herds follow a well-defined migration route. The survival of this large species mainly depends on corridors and routes because they allow elephants to safely migrate, access food sources, and establish crucial genetic links between herds.
The presence of traffic on roads, construction of steep retaining walls, barbed-wire fences, and the presence of human population along the corridor and routes can limit the migration of elephants that ultimately hinders their movement.
Jahidul Kabir said when trans-boundary elephants enter Bangladesh’s territory facing food crisis in India. “Once in Bangladesh territory, they find no suitable habitat here either. So, they come down to paddy fields and come into conflicts with humans.”
Kabir said, “As people have grabbed the elephant habitat here, the animals frequently damage crop fields of local farmers and attack on local settlement… elephant-human conflict is the ultimate consequence of their habitat loss.”
According to Forest Department data, at least 227 people and 63 elephants were killed here in human-elephant conflicts in the last 13 years. About 16 people and four elephants were killed just last year.
Kabir said the Forest Department has already seized the generators and wires installed in paddy fields so that they cannot kill elephants anymore.
There is no alternative to creating awareness among people to prevent conflicts with wild elephants, he said adding, human-elephant conflicts will ease when local people become aware of the necessity elephants for biodiversity.
He said the Forest Department has already proposed the government to increase the fund to it and provide compensation to local people so that they can help manage the elephant population in the country.
According to a new study, ‘Status of Asian Elephants in Bangladesh’ jointly conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bangladesh and Bangladesh Forest Department, there are 39 natural crossing points that elephants use regularly to migrate between Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries.
Among them, about 33 crossing points are along the Indian border and the remaining six on the Myanmar frontier area.
About the trans-boundary elephant-crossing points, the study revealed that seven vagrant points were identified along the international boundary of northeastern districts of Bangladesh. Stray elephants from India entered Bangladesh by breaking the barbed-wire fences or crossing rivers. – UNB

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