Kaptai National Park appears to be greatest wildlife abode despite its relatively smaller size with an integrated study suggesting it to be the home of 50 percent of the country’s total wildlife species.”Kaptai National Park in Rangamati appears to be the home of highest number of wildlife species in a relatively smaller area . . . this is the greatest abode for the wildlife in terms of presence of species,” principal investigator of the study Professor Monirul Hassan Khan of Jahangirnagar University told BSS.The zoologist added: “Kaptai Park covers only 0.04 percent area of the country’s total landmass but it houses 50 percent of the country’s total number of wildlife species.
“Prof Khan led a group of Zoology Department teachers and students of his university in carrying out the 28-month-long study since 2013 under a forest department initiative funded by the World Bank.The study titled “Wildlife of Kaptai National Park of Bangladesh” found in the forest existence of 17 species which faced extinction across the globe.Prof Khan said during the study, they recorded presence of 62 mammal species while the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared 11 of them as “globally threatened”.He said 48 percent of the country’s mammal species found the Kaptai forest to be their safe abode.The species included IUCN-declared endangered Asian Elephant or Elephas maximus, Hoolock Gibbon or Hoolock hoolock and Northern Pig-tailed Monkey or Macaca leonine, which the IUCN listed as a vulnerable species.The study listed 358 species of birds in the sanctuary which are estimated 51 percent of total bird species of Bangladesh.A member of the study team said they found one type of bird during their research which until study period was thought to be unavailable in Bangladesh.”This bird is known as Large Blue Flycatcher with its scientific name being Cyornis magnirostris,” he said.The study recorded presence of a total of 74 species of reptiles including four globally-threatened tortoises and turtles.According to the study, a total of 38 species of amphibians including the globally-endangered Northern Frog or Occidozyga borealis live in the park, representing 78 percent of the all types of amphibians found in Bangladesh.Some rare species of fishes including Mahseer or Tor spp and Paradise Fish or Pseudosphromenus cupanus were also listed as inhabitants of the sanctuary.Prof Khan said “exceptionally rich in invertebrate diversity and abundance” of butterflies gave the park an extra feature with huge diversity of plants and grasses making their living comfortable.”(But) the wildlife of Kaptai National Park are facing formidable threats created by people . . . causing to the decline of wildlife species and populations,” the study report noted.It said at least two wildlife species — The tiger or Panthera tigris, the largest cat species, and Leopard Panthera Pardus, one of the five “big cats” in the genus Panthera — by now have extirpated from the park.”Many more species also to be extinct while the Park is getting poorer every day due to various pressure on the land and natural resources,” the report read attributing firewood collection, poaching and retribution killing, accidental fire, illegal logging and environment pollution to the phenomenon.The Kaptai forest was treated as a reserved forest until 1999, when it was declared as a National Park.