Fears for Bangladesh’s elephants after at least four deaths

At least four Asian elephants, an endangered population, died last week in Bangladesh, including three electrocuted by cables installed by farmers to protect their fields, environmental officials and the country’s police lamented on Sunday.

Bangladesh currently has fewer than 100 elephants and these animals regularly come into conflict with populations as their range shrinks.

“Four elephants have died in Chittagong province alone (the largest port in Bangladesh and the second largest city in the country) since last week,” forest department official Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury told AFP.

Two were electrocuted, a third was shot and killed in a reservation, while a fourth died of “natural causes,” he said.

Another elephant was also electrocuted in north Sherpur, near the Indian border, local police said.

For decades, the hills of the Chittagong region have been a stopping place for migrating elephants from neighboring Burma.

But rampant urbanization, intensive agriculture and the establishment of refugee camps, home to around a million Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma, have reduced their territory in recent years and caused a growing number of deaths, both among the population. as among elephants.

To prevent these animals from entering their fields, farmers install live electrical cables along their perimeter, posing “the greatest threat” to the elephants’ survival, continued Mr. Chowdhury.

For Raquibul Amin, from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), illegal agriculture in the forest areas of Bangladesh is also partly responsible for the massacres of elephants, who seek to flee their natural habitat.

According to the authorities, twelve elephants have died in the last eighteen months in Bangladesh.

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