Vol. 4 Num 138 Mon. October 13, 2003  
Front Page

BDR officer kills wild elephant in sanctuary

A BDR officer killed an elephant last month at Pablakhali sanctuary, a forest reserve in Rangamati.

The shooting took place even though the Wildlife Act of 1973 prohibits entry into the sanctuary without the permission of forest officials. The Act also makes killing of any wild animal a punishable offence.

An elephant can be killed only if it is declared a rogue elephant by the government's wildlife experts.

According to sources in the forest department, Lt. Col. KM Mominur Rahman visited East Raznagar with his troops on September 8. He heard from the locals that a 12-year old girl had been killed the night before by an elephant. The locals also informed him that the elephant was roaming around in the Pablakhali forest reserve.

Rahman entered the teak forest reserve without permission and came face to face with a stray male elephant.

In the official report, the zonal office informed the Rangamati BDR headquarters that when the elephant started to move forward, Rahman shot it with his sub-machine gun, killing it on the spot.

Later, the forest officials visited the spot and the Barkal upazila livestock officer conducted a postmortem on the elephant. At least 51 bullets were found in the trunk, eyes, head, throat, ears, legs and torso of the elephant, according to the report. After the postmortem, the forest officials buried the elephant to guard against the theft of its tusks as a trophy.

The divisional forest officer of the wildlife management and nature conservation wing has served legal notice on Rahman.

IUCN, the world union of conservation, describes the Asian elephants as critically endangered. The number of the elephants in the country's forests is between 196 and 227. Moreover, around 100 migratory elephants occasionally cross into the country from across the border.

A recent conference on elephant in Dhaka acknowledged that 170 people have been killed and 101 injured in attacks by elephants in the last five years. At least 22 elephants were poached during the time.

The elephant killed by a BDR officer last month at Pablakhali sanctuary, a forest reserve in Rangamati. An elephant can be killed only if declared a rogue by government wildlife experts. Photo: STAR