Asian Elephant Conservation Programme in Bangladesh

The significance of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) for ecosystem is now evidently known. It is a critically endangered species in Bangladesh. The conservation of this species is crucial to the maintenance of biodiversity and ecological integrity of Bangladesh. In the middle of twenty first century, there were more than 500 elephants present in their natural habitats throughout Bangladesh, but recent estimates show that the number is not higher than 220 in the wild. With only about 250 individuals left in the wild, elephant is severely threatened throughout its range in Bangladesh. The population of wild elephants has declined drastically in last two centuries because of habitat fragmentation and destruction caused by the expansion of agriculture and human settlement. The growing pressure on elephant habitats and movement corridors results human elephant conflict in terms of crop raid and both human and elephant casualties. It is thus essential to identify the present status of elephants and come up with a structured action plan to conserve remaining Asian elephants in Bangladesh.

Goal

The goal of the project was “to conserve Asian elephants in Bangladesh for contributing to the biological diversity and ecological integrity of the country”.

Objectives

  • To know the present status of Asian elephants in Bangladesh;
  • To identify and map of elephant movement, routes, corridors and Human Elephant Conflict areas;
  • To prepare a long-term elephant conservation action plan for Bangladesh;
  • To pilot identified actions in selected human-elephant conflict areas of Bangladesh.

Key activities

  • Conducting population survey to determine the present status;
  • Mapping movement routes, corridors, habitats and human-elephant conflict zones throughout the elephant ranges of Bangladesh;
  • Identifying and mapping of trans-boundary elephant crossing points;
  • Liaising and collaborating with government agencies, local communities and concerned stakeholders to develop a national elephant action plan;
  • Conducting dialogue with neighboring countries for proper management of Trans-boundary elephants;
  • Operationalizing community based elephant response teams for emergency conflict situation in most human elephant conflict zones;
  • Improving elephant habitat through planting elephant fodder species;
  • Awaring community peoples and other stakeholders on elephant conservation.
  • Publishing books on elephant census; atlas on elephant movement routes and corridors; Bangladesh elephant conservation action plan; and human and elephant conflict manual.

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 and six months (June 2013 to November 2016)

Project area
All the elephant ranges of Bangladesh.

Implemented by
IUCN Bangladesh Country Office