Asian Elephant Conservation Programme in Bangladesh

The Habitat loss and fragmentation continue to be the primary reasons for the decline of Asian elephants in the world. Due to fragmentation of habitat, elephant ranges in Bangladesh have become confined to small patches. Some movement pathways between habitats have been totally abandoned due to degradation of forest cover, establishment of monoculture forests, extension human settlements, intensification of agricultural practice, road construction, etc. Consequently, conflict between human and elephant is rising in the last two decades.

The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is currently listed as ‘endangered species’ worldwide and classified as protected species under the wildlife (Conservation and Protection) Act 2012 of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, elephants can be found in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Sylhet and Jamalpur districts.

Goal

The goal of the project was “to reduce human elephant conflict in the country”.

Objective

The objective of the project was to identify effective mitigation measures through piloting a range of options in human elephant conflict zones in the country.

Key activities

  • Generating nature, type, scale and habitat attributes of human-elephant conflict (HEC): Information on the frequency, distribution and severity of human elephant conflict incidents, the types of incident that occur, determining who, what is affected and where and the elephants responsible – is the focus of data collection. For data collection a range of tools are to be used like population survey, HEC survey, and mapping using GIS tools.
  • Developing a participatory HEC mitigation management modality: This major activity entails a series of consultation meetings with communities to come up with agreed upon mitigation measures to be piloted, where to be implemented, what are the modalities for implementation, when and by whom.
  • Identifying HEC mitigation options: Focus on carrying out the pilot activities as per agreed upon plan on the ground by the communities, through community participation, and identifies best possible mitigation options. The tentative mitigation actions are – demonstration plots of elephant non-preferred crops, barriers like- solar electric fencing, bio-fencing, chili based olfactory repellent rope, chili smoke, early warning like watch tower, trip alarm. The mitigation options also include habitat improvement through plantation of palatable plant and establishment of salt licks.

Results of the project

  • Nature, type, scale and habitat attributes of HEC is generated;
  • Participatory human elephant conflict mitigation management modalities agreed upon;
  • Human elephant conflict mitigation options identified.

Supported by
Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection (SRCWP) Project of Bangladesh Forest Department with Financial Support from The World Bank.
Project duration
Three years (December 2013 – November 2016)

Project area
Khurusia, Rangunia and Dohazari Ranges of Chittagong South Forest Division; Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaldhi Range of Chittagong Wildlife and Nature Conservation Division; Bandarban Sadar Range of Bandarban Forest Division and Rajarkul, Ukhia, Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, and Whykheong Ranges of Cox’s Bazar South Forest Division.

Implemented by
IUCN Bangladesh Country Office