BOOST TO BIODIVERSITY
GUWAHATI: Wildlife experts in Assam have demanded the Centre to launch a joint initiative with Bangladesh to save elephants in the Barak Valley.
According to experts, the only way to save the elephants in the Patharia Reserve Forest in Karimganj district of Barak Valley is through joining hands with Bangladesh for biodiversity conservation.
On other hand, researchers at the Assam University, Silchar, have also observed that initiating any conservation action for the Patharia Reserve Forest area is very tough as this deserves joint initiatives of both the countries (India and Bangladesh). Their observation has been published in a study entitled ‘Importance of trans-boundary conservation of the Asiatic elephant in Patharia hills’. The study has been done by Parthankar Choudhury and Nazimur Rahman Talukdar of Assam University and Rofik Ahmed Barbhuiya of Udhayan, a local NGO.
The Patharia Hills Reserve Forest occupies an area of 76.47 square km and is situated on the western side of Karimganj district and the eastern side of Sylhet district of Bangladesh.
“If conservation action is not taken up right now, the reserve forest will be a dense human settlement area without any trace of wildlife in the near future,” the study says.
Parthankar Choudhury, a researcher at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Assam University, said there are only six elephants (all females) in the Patharia Reserve Forest and translocation of a male elephant is the need of the hour. Such initiative has to be done by the government on a priority basis for their sustenance in this patch on the Indo- Bangladesh border, he said.
The elephants at the Patharia Reserve Forest are now divided into two small herds, three in each group and it has been observed that one herd always follows the other. They stay on both sides of the forest (Indian as well as on the Bangladesh portion) and cross the border frequently. The elephants have broken the border fences and use the route as their migratory corridor.
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