Vol. 5 Num 557 Tue. December 20, 2005  

Int'l Confce Begins
'Formulate policy to save elephants'

A two-day international conference began here yesterday to develop policy and programmes for the conservation of endangered animal elephant in this region.

Two international organisations- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) and Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (Mike) have jointly organised the conference.

Environment and Forest Secretary Jafar Ahmed Chowdhury attended the inaugural session as chief guest while Indian Inspector General of Forests (Wildlife) RB Lal was in the chair.

Mohammad Osman Ghani, chief conservator of forests, and Nigel Hunter, director of Cites /Mike programme, were the special guests.

Concerned divisional heads of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar are taking part in the conference.

Speakers at the inaugural session underscored the necessity of conducting a cross-border survey to devise ways and means to stop migration of elephants and reduce human-elephant conflicts causing casualties on both sides and damaging properties.

They also stressed the need for identifying Mike sites and the reasons behind migration and increase in human-elephant conflicts.

The speakers hoped that the experts and officials from home and abroad would gather necessary information and discuss them thoroughly at the meeting to come up with recommendation to be placed before their respective governments for necessary action.

The conference will also provide guidelines for a long-term master plan with emphasis on human welfare and poverty alleviation alongside the protection of elephants, they added.

Dr Arun Venkataraman, sub-regional support officer of Cites /Mike in South Asia, delivered the theme speech while Monoj Kanti Roy, conservator of forest, wildlife and nature of Bangladesh, gave the vote of thanks.