Kh. Ismat Hasan Jahid
male is known as the Stag, ornamented with extra furs and
a remarkably noticeable pair of antennae over the forehead
for which it is called the Antelope of Bangladesh. It has
already lost six of its other neighbours of the order Artiodactyla,
some in remote and some in recent past. IUCN (The World
Conservation Union) Bangladesh identified those six
extinct large bodied herbivores and they are the Gaur (Bos
Gaurus), the Benteg (Bos benteng), the Wild
Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), the Nilgai
or Blue bull (Boselephus tragocamelis), the Swamp
Deer (Cervus duvauceli) and finally the Hog Deer
The Sambar is still surviving with its
three other members of the order Artiodactyla like the Barking
Deer or Maya Horin (Muntiacus muntjac),
the Mainland Serow or Ban Chagol (Capricornis
sumatraensis) and the Spotted Deer or Chitra Horin.
Out of these four surviving Artiodactyla, except
the Spotted Deer, other threes are in the Red List of IUCN
and the Barking Deer is endangered whereas the Sambar and
the Bon Chagol belong to the category Critically
The Sambar, which once upon a time was a
huge trouble for the early growing croplands and thus a
threat to the farmers, is now in the list of threatened
animals according to IUCN Bangladesh. But their actual status
is still a question, as the dwellers of those areas cannot
say when they saw last time a Sambar in the areas where
these antelopes used to be seen usually. And IUCN says an
animal is extinct at least locally, when it is not seen
in its natural habitat for at least 50 years.
The Sambar (Cervus unicolor) belongs to the order
Artiodactyla and family Cervidae has a body colour
of uniformly dark gray without any spot. The males are called
the stage contain antlers; each with three tines. Hairs
rough and shaggy with a body length 1.7-2.7 metres. Weight
is distributed in the forests of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Its extra territorial distribution is India, Sri Lanka,
Myanmar, Thailand Vietnam, Laos and
Cambodia. It is a typical forest deer and prefers hillsides
near cultivation. Solitary in non-breeding season and active
by night as it is nocturnal by nature. It feeds on grass
leaves, wild fruits and crops beside its territory. Moves
remarkably silently through dense forests and a very good
swimmer. The gestation period is about eight months and
after that one or rarely two fawns are born.
the unusual amazing character that it contains is they live
in groups in breeding season and the male contains harems.
IUCN says that the males actually acquire harems. It is
always surrounded by a good numbers of females that take
care of the stag in every possible aspect and instead of
this the stag ensures the protection of the female group.
But acquiring harems is not an easy job. It requires severe
physical combat between and among males. In some of the
cases one male acquire the harems with the death of another.
Thus though it looks better to live with harems, in reality
living in harem is rather disadvantageous for long-term
survival, as it requires physical combat between stages.
Other problem is, only one stag is allowed in a group and
after the born of a new male, it becomes a huge problem
to allow the new born in the group after its maturity. Sometimes
the old one is replaced by the new through physical combat
and the old one dies which was supposed to live some years
more. Thus either the old one dies or the new male gets
loneliness failing the combat and if there is no available
group, the evicted one dies losing its potentiality as it
does not get its harems.
IUCN Bangladesh identified the causes of
its being threatened are hunting and habitat loss, but still
this species is in the habit of killing each other in group.
IUCN is how ever taking the measures to protect it by captive
breeding following by the return to the nature. Under the
Wildlife Preservation Amendment Act '1974, the government
has declared 11 forested areas as sanctuaries where the
wild animals are totally protected from hunters or any other
intruders. Out of those 11 sanctuaries, 5 of them are of
evergreen type and hence could be a sound habitat for the
return of the Sambar.
Moreover, the Publakhali wildlife sanctuary,
established in 1962 and declared as such in 1983 by the
Government can be the best habitat as these Sambars were
seen in this area many years ago in a very good number.
Dhaka National Zoo has some Sambars that can be used as
a breeding stock. The colony consists of male, female and
the stag and the pleasant news is, they breed here in the
zoo and the thriving rate is consistent.