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Elephants have been revered for centuries in Asia, playing an important role in maintaining the ecosystem they inhabit and also in the continent’s culture and religion. Despite its clearly established importance, most elephant populations are fragmented and pocketed due to multidimensional threats and challenges across its ranges. Bangladesh is one of the 13 Asian Elephant range countries and holding the responsibility to contribute to the global effort for conserving this majestic animal. At the moment, the Asian elephant’s population in Bangladesh ranges from 210-330 and being categorized as Critically Endangered.
Elephants are in jeopardy in Bangladesh due to negative impact deriving from food scarcity, habitat loss and degradation, and direct killing. Moreover, Bangladesh suffers from severe levels of human-elephant conflict, molded in human killing, crop raiding, resource damage, and ultimately the vengeance killings of elephants by affected local communities. Fragmentation of elephant movement routes and corridors due to encroachment, agricultural expansion, establishment of settlements also directly intimidates the survival of the wild elephant population in nature.
Conservation of elephants requires multifaceted initiatives and partnerships at all levels. In order to build an effective and thriving elephant conservation attempt, there are set of challenges that need to be combated in terms of improving the research and knowledge management, strengthening the relevant policies and institutions, enhancing the protection and fortifying the relevant law enforcements, building awareness through communication and education programs, and developing collaboration between all parties involved.
Over the last couple of decades, the Government of Bangladesh has undertaken few initiatives to conserve the wild elephants in Bangladesh. These initiatives, in most cases were discrete and taken on an impermanent basis. The Bangladesh Elephant Conservation Action Plan (BECAP) is the very first document of its kind and spots the investiture of an organized approach in ensuring long term conservation of elephants. It is a Government owned strategy document that provides a vision, goals, and objectives to steer integrated and focused elephant conservation programs. This Action Plan would acts as management prescription for the conservation of Asian elephants in Bangladesh for next ten years.
Based on the extent of practicability and relevance, BECAP addressed the elephant conservation threats and challenges by separating them into six problem pillars: (1) Human-Elephant Conflicts and Elephants Poaching, (2) Habitat Loss and Food Scarcity, (3) Protection and Regulation, (4) Research and Knowledge Management, (5) Capacity Development and Institutional Strengthening, and (6) Education, Awareness and Collaboration. Forty high priorities, 43 medium priorities and 35 low priority actions are recommended in this Action Plan to secure the remaining elephant populations of Bangladesh.
Success of this Action Plan would depend greatly on the timely implementation. Meaningful implementation of this Action Plan could be achieved by ensuring effective coordination among the relevant policies, strategies and actors. Proper monitoring and evaluation of recommended actions in this Action Plan will provide a basis for assessing the achievements of the elephant conservation endeavors. Timely implementation of the BECAP would not be possible without adequate and continued funding supports.

  • Publisher: Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
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