Project title: Status survey and development of Elephant Action Plan for Bangladesh
Duration: 2013 – 2016
Project background: In the hilly areas of Bangladesh, elephants were once a common sight. Unfortunately, over the last few decades the number of elephants has declined considerably. Human settlement in the forest areas, absence of tree cover inside the forest, and reduction of food availability are considered the leading causes of declining Elephant numbers. Since food availability and elephant habitats are decreasing due to human activities, there are conflicts arising between forest dwellers and elephants. Human casualties and crop damage by elephants are frequent news, particularly in the hilly forest areas of the country, as are elephant deaths as a result of the conflict.
Conservation of the Asian elephant is crucial since it can contribute to maintaining biodiversity and ecological integrity on a large-scale. The presence of this species in forested areas indicates that the forest is rich in biodiversity and has a healthy ecosystem. However in Bangladesh, the need for conservation of Asian elephants is not receiving enough attention at policy or implementation levels, even though the conservation of this species is nationally and internationally important.
The Bangladesh Forest Department approached IUCN to take initiative for the conservation of this ecologically important species, as IUCN has been working in Bangladesh on elephant conservation since 2001. In response, IUCN submitted an elephant conservation project proposal to the Forst Department with the aim to formulate a status survey and development of Elephant Action Plan for Bangladesh. The project was awarded in 2013 and the financial agreement and Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
Objectives of the project:
- Know the present status (population and distribution) of Asian elephants in Bangladesh
- Prepare maps of Asian elephant habitats, routes, corridors and Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) areas (except mapping done during the earlier programmes of IUCN)
- Identify location, causes and frequency of HEC
- Prepare a long-term action plan for the conservation of Asian elephants in Bangladesh
- Pilot identified actions in selected HEC areas of Bangladesh
- Present status of elephant population determined
- Geographical Information System (GIS) based routes, corridor and HEC maps prepared
- Action plan for Asian elephant developed
- Identified actions in selected HEC areas piloted
Donor: Bangladesh Forest Department